BP cuts oil exploration team to less than 100, Reuters reports

BP has cut its oil exploration team to less than 100 from a peak of more than 700 a few years ago, in the clearest sign yet of the company’s rapid shift away from fossil fuels under CEO Bernard Looney.

“The winds have turned very chilly in the exploration team since Looney’s arrival. This is happening incredibly fast,” a senior company source told Reuters. Hundreds have left BP’s oil exploration team in recent months, with many transferred to help develop new low carbon activities.

Since taking up the hotseat at BP just under a year ago, Looney has pledged to make the company largely carbon-neutral by 2050 and became the first oil major CEO to promote lower oil and gas production targets, as part of a climate change-driven overhaul.

A number of geologists, engineers and scientists have also been laid off during the last year as BP commits to slashing 10,000 jobs – 15% of its workforce – under Looney’s aggressive restructuring.

The veteran oil engineer aims to cut BP’s output by 1 million barrels per day – or 40% – over the next decade, while growing renewable energy output 20-fold. Despite the changes, oil and gas will remain the firm’s main source of revenue until at least 2030

Data from Rystad Energy shows BP acquired around 3,000 km² of new exploration licences in 2020, its lowest since at least 2015.