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BP looks to cut jobs, including union positions, at its Whiting refinery

September 16/2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BP, the London-based energy giant, is looking at an unspecified number of job cuts at its BP Whiting Refinery, according to NWI.

BP lost a staggering USD16.8 billion in in the second quarter after the global coronavirus pandemic caused crude oil prices to fall off a cliff and greatly weakened demand for gasoline, with people staying home more often. It's also looking to reduce its carbon emissions, even buying the remaining stake in the Fowler Ridge Wind Farm off of Interstate 65 in downstate Indiana.

"Earlier this year, BP established a new ambition of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Doing so requires reinventing the company, including a global organization redesign," BP spokeswoman Sarah Howell said. "The Whiting refinery is reviewing our organizational structure and remains committed to our core value of maintaining safe operations."

Howell declined to answer questions about specifics, such as how many jobs would be affected and if the headcount reduction would be achieved by layoffs or buyouts.

BP CEO Bernard Looney announced the company would cut about 10,000 jobs worldwide, most by the end of the year.

"The majority of people affected will be in office-based jobs," Looney said. "We are protecting the frontline of the company and, as always, prioritizing safe and reliable operations."

The company said it would try to help displaced workers, such as by providing them with a laptop, giving them professional coaching on job-seeking and helping them launch new careers, such as by referring them to government agencies and offering webinars on how to start a business of their own. He promised "substantial severance packages."

"Everyone on the BP leadership team realizes these decisions will mean significant, life-changing consequences for thousands of colleagues and friends," Looney said. "And I am really sorry that this will hurt a lot of people who I know love this company as much as I do. And so we have spent a lot of time working on how we can do more than we normally do in these circumstances."

The jobs cuts are aimed at making BP "a leaner, faster-moving and lower carbon company," Howell said.

BP Whiting currently employs around 1,700 people, about half of which are represented by the United Steelworkers union.

USW Local 7-1 was notified that BP wanted to cut union jobs.

"The union will be meeting with the company to better understand and negotiate any proposed impacts to USW-represented employees," USW Local 7-1 said in an update to members. "We will be continually updating the membership throughout this process as additional information becomes available."

Earlier this year, as MRC wrote previously, BP said the deadly coronavirus outbreak could cut global oil demand growth by 40 per cent in 2020, putting pressure on Opec producers and Russia to curb supplies to keep prices in check.

And in September 2019, six world's major petrochemical companies in Flanders, Belgium, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, and the Netherlands (Trilateral Region) announced the creation of a consortium to jointly investigate how naphtha or gas steam crackers could be operated using renewable electricity instead of fossil fuels. The Cracker of the Future consortium, which includes BASF, Borealis, BP, LyondellBasell, SABIC and Total, aims to produce base chemicals while also significantly reducing carbon emissions. The companies agreed to invest in R&D and knowledge sharing as they assess the possibility of transitioning their base chemical production to renewable electricity.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's DataScope report, PE imports to Russia dropped in January-June 2020 by 7% year on year to 328,000 tonnes. High density polyethylene (HDPE) accounted for the main decrease in imports. At the same time, PP imports into Russia rose in the first six months of 2020 by 21% year on year to 105,300 tonnes. Propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) accounted for the main increase in imports.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:Europe, PP, PE, crude and gaz condensate, homopolymer PP, propylene, HDPE, ethylene, petrochemistry, BASF, Borealis, BP Plc, LyondellBasell, Sabic, Total Petrochemicals, Russia, USA.
Category:General News
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