Energy

BP job cuts higher than previously announced

BP on Monday said it will reduce a larger portion of its Alaska workforce than it had announced in January as a result of new plans by the Prudhoe Bay owners to idle three of five drilling rigs.

The rig loss will cost about 85 additional jobs in addition to the 270 job cuts already announced.

The cutbacks stem from the slide in oil prices since summer 2014 that has led to losses across the globe as the oil and gas industry slashes costs and delays projects.

BP had previously announced a 13 percent cut to its workforce of 2,100 employees and specialty contractors, which amounted to a loss of about 270 workers.

But the planned reduction has increased to approximately 17 percent as a result of the recently announced decision to reduce operating rigs at Prudhoe Bay, said Dawn Patience, a spokesperson with BP Alaska. That decision was made by ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips and BP.

BP is the operator at the field, one of the nation's largest, with production of 281,000 barrels of oil daily in 2015.

A 17 percent cut would affect about 355 jobs. The reductions will occur primarily in mid-2016, tapering off until completed at year end, Patience said.

The reductions will come on top of the lost jobs that will be directly associated with the idling of the rigs in the next few months. Those jobs are held by contractors, and have been estimated at between 200 and 300 employees.

Colorado-based engineering company CH2M Hill, which directly employs 2,100 people in Alaska and purchased Veco oil-field services company in 2007, also said on Monday it has made a "workforce adjustment," affecting less than 1 percent of workers. One percent is 21 employees.

The decision reflects market conditions, particularly in the energy industry, said Lorrie Crum, CH2M Hill's vice president of corporate communications.

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