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Oil slump to cost North Sea industry 120,000 jobs

Deirdre MichieBritain’s oil and gas industry will lose a quarter of jobs as a result of the slump in the oil price, according to the sector’s trade association.

About 120,000 jobs will have been axed by the end of the year and cut will continue despite a recent uplift in the price.

Oil has risen by 80% to about $50 a barrel since hitting a 12-year low of $27 in January. However, it is still less than half of where it traded in the summer of 2014 when the North Sea employed 450,000 workers.

It is thought this year’s tally of losses will hit 40,000, on top of 84,000 lost last year, as the shake-out continues and companies adjust to the lower price which is expected to remain for some time.

Big companies such as BP and Shell have seen profits evaporate and investment plans have been put on hold or cancelled, including a £500m gas plant at Shetland which will no longer go ahead. This has had a knock-on effect on smaller companies servicing the industry, as well as hotels and retailers.

Deirdre Michie, chief executive of Oil & Gas UK which issued the data on jobs, said: “We cannot underestimate the impact the global downturn in the industry is having on the UK economy, nor the personal toll for those who have lost their jobs, and the effect on their families and colleagues.”

Further efficiencies will be needed to create a sustainable industry, she added. However, on a more positive note, she said that with up to 20 billion barrels of oil and gas still to recover, the region is “still very much open for business,”


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