UK oil sector braces for massive job cuts as North Sea oil production struggles with low prices

Clara Guibourg
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North Sea oil
Up to 10,000 more jobs could be disappearing from the North Sea oil sector (Source: Getty)

Some 5,500 jobs have already disappeared in the North Sea oil sector - but the worst could be yet to come for the embattled UK oil industry.

Industry experts are predicting another 10,000 jobs will disappear as oil prices struggle to recover from their prolonged slump.

A supply glut has sent oil prices plummeting over the past year, with international benchmark Brent crude falling from over $100 a barrel in July 2014 to trade around the $50-mark today.

Read more: Light at the end of the North Sea oil pipeline?

Tony Durrant, chief executive of Premier Oil. has told the Financial Times that as prices remain low, thousands of people employed in the industry are likely to lose their jobs:

The industry is only just beginning to get under way with this — it has not so far been very good at making itself efficient.

The North Sea oil sector has been especially vulnerable to crashing oil prices. Falling reserves have made extraction in the region the most expensive in the world. Revenues tumbled to an all-time low in the first quarter of 2015, and extracting what is left is costing producers more and more.

Shell has already cut 500 jobs in the region, while BP has cut 200 and Conoco 230.

Oil’s slide is predicted to be a long one, as several energy forecasters are suggesting that the oversupply will last through the end of 2016, and Standard & Poor’s recently revised its oil price forecast down.

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