BP commits to staying in North Sea for 40 years

BP has delivered a massive jobs boost along with a commitment to stay in the North Sea sector for the next four decades.

A view of part of the BP Etap platform. Picture: PA
A view of part of the BP Etap platform. Picture: PA
A view of part of the BP Etap platform. Picture: PA

The energy giant has vowed to create 534 jobs with two large-scale projects to the west of Shetland.

Installation of the modules for its Clair Ridge platform and the imminent arrival of the storage vessel Glen Lyon has been hailed as a “once in lifetime” double win for the region.

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Combined they are expected to unlock one billion barrels of oil over the next 40 years.

And in a vote of confidence for the struggling industry, BP boss Mark Thomas said: “This is our home”.

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“This is where BP has matured and we feel this is our backyard.”

It is good news for the oil and gas sector which has been driven down by plummeting oil prices over the past two years, leading to fears that the industry could collapse.

More than 65,000 jobs have gone with more redundancies in the pipeline across the sector due to numerous projects being put on hold.

Operators have slashed costs as profit margins have dropped significantly over the past two years.

However, Mr Thomas said BP classed the west of Shetland as a “growth opportunity” and an area the oil and gas firm wanted to invest in.

The new jobs are linked to the hook-up and commissioning of the two projects with the work expected to last 18 months.

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He added: “It’s nice to give a little bit of economic stimulation to the north-east.

“The region could use it right now. And there are some very high quality resources available, so we’re getting top notch people to come out to do the construction for us.”

The oil and gas company cut 600 jobs earlier this year.

Alexander Burnett MSP, Scottish Conservative Energy spokesman, said: “This is a very welcome announcement from BP that will provide a ray of light during what has been a particularly bleak period in the history of the North Sea.

“A commitment to not only create 534 jobs, but to stay and keep producing for up to 40 years is a real boost at a very challenging time and should provide confidence for other operators and investors that there remains a strong future for the sector.”