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More than 5,500 North Sea jobs affected by oil price decline

North Sea workers arrive on platform by helicopter
North Sea job cuts have risen to 7,500, according to Oil and Gas UK

More than 5,500 jobs in the North Sea oil and gas industry have been lost since the oil price decline, according to new estimates.

The figure comes as companies including BP, Shell and Total have reduced their headcount in a bid to save costs.

Companies have also been in consultation over a move to three on, three off shift patterns for workers.

Industry body Oil & Gas UK said the figure put forward could be conservative, while trade union Unite said the number could actually be around 4,000.

Deirdre Michie, chief executive of Oil & Gas UK, said the industry was doing all it could to ensure the sector was “safe, competitive and sustainable” at an oil price of $60 a barrel.

She said: “We are applying the lessons we have learnt from the past and we know that our focus cannot merely be on ‘cutting costs’.

“In a more profound and universal way we must address the efficiency of the basin so that, if or when the oil price bounces back, we will be best placed to seize new opportunities.”

Last year, North Sea exploration reached its lowest level in at least two decades and saw just 14 wells drilled in comparison with 44 in 2008.

The price of Brent crude oil fell to $55 last week – a drop of half – from $110 in 2010.

In recent weeks both Technip and Bristow have revealed they are in consultation over jobs.

Offshore firm Technip said it would be reducing its headcount by 6,000 jobs worldwide.

The company currently employs 1,000 people in the North Sea but said it was having to make the changes in a bid to slash costs by £600million amid the “prolonged” oil slowdown.

Meanwhile Bristow Helicopters has launched a consultation with staff.

The total number of workers that could be affected is estimated to be around 130 – including up to 66 pilots – in jobs across the UK.

The company said the move was in response to the “ongoing reduction”of oil and gas activity in the North Sea following the decline in global prices.

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