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BP forced to cut IT staff by around 30% as oil price drop takes its toll

The sustained drop in oil prices has led BP to “simplify” its business, including a reduction in its IT teams

Energy giant BP has been forced into huge cuts in its IT budget and technology staff as a result of the fall in oil prices, with sources suggesting as many as 30% of its IT team will lose their jobs.

Computer Weekly has learned that many of the technology function at BP have already been made redundant, with one source suggesting more than 90 people left the UK business about three months ago.

BP refused to comment on individual departments, but confirmed that the overall headcount of the firm will be significantly lower in comparison to 2014.

“We expect the global BP employee headcount to be 4,000 lower than it was in 2014,” said a BP representative.

“This is in reaction to simplifying our business and streamlining it, and making the necessary adjustments that the rest of the industry is also doing in the light of the changing oil prices.”

At the end of 2014 the global employee count for the company stood at 84,500 people, but BP would not confirm the numbers for individual departments.

The firm is looking to cut costs by reducing contractors as well as internal departments, and one source said many functions in departments are becoming centralised.

Many IT projects have been put on hold and the firm has been forced to reprioritise projects due to changes across the business that are supported by IT functions.

BP’s representative stated this was “not unique to any particular function”, and that the firm’s restructuring and simplification was bound to lead to the upscaling and downscaling of projects across the board.

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Several senior IT leaders at BP are believed to have left the organisation. Lyn Grobler, formerly vice-president and CIO of corporate functions, was recently unveiled as the CIO of Hyperion Insurance. 

In 2014, BP awarded an IT services contract to Infosys as part of its IT outsourcing strategy, whereby a small group of firms provide services across the global business function. BP originally adopted this strategy to cut costs and because the global nature of the business would make it difficult to bring these functions in-house.

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