120,000 UK jobs lost from the oil price crash

 
Billy Bambrough
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View of the Grangemouth oil refinery nea
The Grangemouth oil refinery off the coast of Edinburgh (Source: Getty)

Over 120,000 jobs are expected to have been lost between 2014 and the end of this year because of the severe hit inflicted on the UK oil industry from tumbling global prices.

The strain of low oil prices has caused massive layoffs and cost-cutting across the sector and in related industries over the last 24 months.

New employment figures released today by industry trade body Oil & Gas UK forecast 40,000 job losses in 2016 alone. Last year, around 84,000 jobs were cut.

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The figures include jobs throughout the supply chain and jobs stemming from the sector, in areas such as accommodation and transport.

The number of jobs supported by the oil industry peaked at over 450,000 two years ago, but will fall to 330,400 by the end of this year.

“We cannot underestimate the impact the global downturn in the industry is having on the UK economy,” said Deirdre Michie, chief exec of Oil & Gas UK.

The industry body has previously estimated that the North Sea is worth about £35bn per year to the economy.

Oil prices hit highs of $115 per barrel in the summer of 2014 before falling to lows of $27 in February of this year.

The rout was sparked by oil cartel Opec failing to cap production, leading to a global supply glut.

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Brent crude, the international price benchmark, has recently rebounded to trade around the $50 mark, though the oversupply in the industry has yet to be cleared.

The rest of the world has also been dealing with the fallout from lower oil prices.

“In the US we saw an immediate reaction to the oil price slide, with jobs going very quickly,” said Abhishek Deshpande, an analyst at Natixis.

The pick up in the oil price over the last few months could begin to stem the flow of job losses, offering some relief.

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“As the price comes back up a little hopefully that will mean the sector is able to continue without more cuts,” said Mike Tholen, economics director for Oil & Gas UK.

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