Oil finance job losses snowball

BP Amoco’s cull of up to 20,000 staff in a cost-cutting drive will include thousands of finance jobs as the oil giant steps up its moves to outsource its accounting function.

Amid predictions of the death of the oil industry accountant, the group has just signed a £100m five-year deal with Andersen Consulting, which will provide finance and administrative services to BP Amoco’s North Sea operations. It extends the pioneering outsourcing deal between BP and Andersen Consulting which began in 1991.

Ian Rushby, chief operation officer of BP Amoco Exploration, said: ‘We look to the firm to continue the most efficient back-office systems to help merge our operations successfully and to help us find ways of adding value to our business.’

Kevin Campbell, global managing partner of Andersen Consulting, said the deal would result in an extra 100 people’s worth of work at the firm, but he admitted that the deal would result in job losses among finance staff at BP Amoco.

The oil giant said last week that the total number of job losses arising from the merger would exceed the 10,000 already identified. The final figures could be as high as 20,000.

BP Amoco is also on the verge of signing a multi-million dollar outsourcing deal with Price-waterhouseCoopers that will transfer 1,300 accounting services staff to the firm from its accounting services group in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Richard Smith, PwC head of Business Process Outsourcing for Europe, said he believed that oil companies would continue to shed finance staff.

‘BP Amoco has taken it further than most, but this will snowball. We are receiving something like 1,000 people per week worldwide and we can give them career growth. If they stay in oil they will be squeezed out,’ he said.

BP Oil chief financial officer for Europe David Hulf has driven outsourcing within the company. Addressing the Financial Directors’ Forum last weekend, he said: ‘It doesn’t matter whether you are wearing a BP Amoco badge or a PwC badge as long as you are sharing the same vision.’

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