BP's new boss tells staff jobs are safe for at least three months

Company will take 'calm, deliberate' action to cut costs, Bernard Looney says

A sign sits on the offices of BP Plc in London, U.K., on Tuesday, March 10, 2020. While the U.K. authorities have abandoned efforts to contain the coronavirus, focusing on delaying the worst of the outbreak, financial-services companies are grappling with policy as several offices cope with health scares. Photographer: Chris J. Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

BP has promised its employees their jobs are safe over the next three months, while the oil major considers ways to cut costs with crude prices plunging.

Chief executive Bernard Looney said the company would take “calm, deliberate action” to manage its capital costs in response to oil’s historic crash. The measures “will not include include making any BP staff redundant” over the next three months, he said in a LinkedIn post.

An unprecedented destruction in demand because of the coronavirus pandemic and a surge of supply have pushed US crude prices below $20 a barrel, with the outlook becoming increasingly grim. Oil companies has pledged billions of dollars of spending cuts to weather the crisis.

Chief financial officer Brian Gilvary said this month the company could slash investments as much as 20 per cent this year. There have been few other details on the British company's plans.

The UK government has also urged companies to preserve jobs during the crisis. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said last week he’d do “whatever it takes” to prop up businesses and workers.

Mr Looney said he made the promise in a live webcast to about 7,000 employees, from his apartment in London. BP has more than 70,000 staff in 79 countries, according to its 2019 annual report.