BP slides into red on plunging oil prices

BP fell to a heavy loss on plunging oil prices. Picture: Nick Ansell/PA Wire
BP fell to a heavy loss on plunging oil prices. Picture: Nick Ansell/PA Wire
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Further job losses are in the pipeline at BP after the oil major yesterday slumped to its biggest annual loss for at least 20 years.

The group, which is still grappling with the financial fallout from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster, is to axe a further 3,000 posts worldwide in its downstream business – including refining, marketing and distribution – by the end of 2017.

That comes on top of the 4,000 cuts announced last year under a swingeing overhaul to slash costs.

Chief executive Bob Dudley said the firm was having to “adapt and rebalance” as the industry struggles with an oil price that has slumped to little more than $30 a barrel.

READ MORE: Insight: Aberdeen’s oil industry running on empty

BP’s latest results show that it tumbled into the red by $5.2 billion (£3.6bn) last year, surpassing even the mammoth losses seen in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill.

In the fourth quarter, underlying profits dropped to $196 million from $2.2bn a year earlier after its upstream business – covering exploration, drilling and well operations – racked up losses of $728m.

Despite the dismal results, the FTSE 100 giant – a mainstay of pension funds – maintained the dividend at 10 cents a share for the quarter. The amount is payable in March.

BP added that oil prices were expected to remain “challenging”. Dudley added: “Our plans set out a clear course for BP for the medium term and will allow us to deliver growth in the longer term.”