Twenty-five percent of BP’s staff in T&T to be sent home

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Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Dr Keith Rowley has disclosed that BPTT officials have told him they will soon be cutting 25 per cent of their workforce, according to a report in the Trinidad Guardian.

However, the report cites BPTT’s Vice President of Corporate Operations, Giselle Thompson, as saying that while the company will be making the cuts, the exact number of jobs that will be affected in Trinidad has not yet been determined.

Rowley reportedly spoke of impending job losses at the country’s largest natural gas producer when asked about how COVID-19 had affected Trinidad and Tobago’s economy. He described the combination of low oil and gas sales, falling prices and the advent of COVID-19 as the perfect storm which led to the shutting down of some plants.

“Many gas-based industries in Pt Lisas appear to have mothballed their plants. COVID has hit us hard, shrinking our economy by 10 per cent, even as we continue to support our hardest-hit citizens at a big cost. As an oil and gas producer, our production and sale of oil has dropped globally,” Rowley said. “COVID-19 came at a time when our oil and gas prices were already softening and had the effect of further reducing consumption of methanol, urea ammonia, LNG, oil and gas. It was a perfect storm. Some plants in Point Lisas have shut down.”

The Prime Minister went on to detail how the pandemic affected oil and gas demand and consequently the country’s fortunes. “Just today, I was advised by BP Trinidad they are reducing their staff by 25 per cent. All gas and oil markets are experiencing the same thing due to reduced demand. Thousands of planes are on the ground, fewer cars are moving about,” he pointed out.

During an address to all staff, BP Chief Executive, Bernard Looney, had in June this year announced plans to cut 10,000 jobs globally following the reduction in demand for oil as a result of COVID-19.

“We introduced a three-month redundancy freeze back in March to ease some of the immediate worry for people. That moratorium ends today,” Looney said, pointing out that most of the job loss would be office-based.

“We will now begin a process that will see close to 10,000 people leaving BP – most by the end of this year. The majority of people affected will be in office-based jobs. We are protecting the frontline of the company and, as always, prioritising safe and reliable operations,” Looney had said.

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