BoS - one third of oil companies still to cut jobs

bankOfScotlandLogoThe continuing slump in oil prices could see almost one in three of the UK’s oil and gas firms planning more new job cuts, a new survey has found.

The latest Bank of Scotland report on the oil industry has found that around 32 per cent of companies are planning further job cuts as the sector downturn is set to continue and oil prices take longer to recover.

Scottish firms have been among those badly hit by the decline in oil prices, with almost 57 per cent claiming to be badly affected in comparison to a national statistic of 41 per cent.

However, many companies are looking to the expansion of North Sea opportunities in an attempt to lift the slump in the oil sector.

The price of crude oil is not expected to rise sufficiently any earlier than the year 2018 with some believing we will not see a significant rise until 2020.

Last week the price of Brent crude was close to $50 a barrel. Industry body Oil and Gas UK has estimated that around 20 per cent of UK production is uneconomic at a $50-per-barrel oil price.

Stuart White of Bank of Scotland, said: “With oil prices currently hovering around the $50 mark there is hope that prices have bottomed out and have begun to slowly and modestly recover.

“Many businesses however, undoubtedly face more difficult decisions on cost savings, jobs and investment.

“While the blow from depressed oil prices has been severe for many impacted by job losses, the sector is proving itself to be among one of the most resilient industries in the UK.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “This is a difficult time for the industry and the workforce.

“However, important steps are under way on the part of employers to adapt to the current low oil price environment.

“The Scottish Government recognises the need for collaborative action and is engaging closely with the industry, trade unions and regulator to overcome the current challenges and secure a long term future for the sector.

“The Scottish Government is focused on creating a competitive and supportive business environment and promoting innovation throughout the supply chain – however, the UK Government retains control of the key taxation levers affecting the sector, and must take the action needed to protect jobs and, hence, we will seek to engage constructively with them, to that end.”

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