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Media advisory: Recent job losses show volatility of oil sector - Governments can no longer ignore the risks of propping up oil

Written by Shelagh Whitley

Shelagh Whitley, research fellow in the climate and environment programme at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), said: “the announcement today that oil giant BP will cut more than 14,000 jobs globally due to the oil price plunge shows just how exposed the sector is to busts. The oil and gas sector is no longer a safe bet investment for governments, or a guaranteed cash cow.”


BP is active across many of the G20 countries, which we found are subsidising fossil fuel exploration to the tune of US$88 billion a year. The UK government alone, where BP is headquartered, is providing £1.2 billion a year in subsidies to oil, gas and coal companies annually through tax breaks of up to 32%. As recently as December 2014, under pressure from oil companies, new and higher tax breaks to support companies in their efforts to find more expensive and risky sources of offshore oil and gas were announced.

Until governments move their funds away from subsidising the operations of oil companies and into promoting the growth of more reliable forms of energy such as renewables and increasing energy efficiency, individuals will continue to be at risk in an unstable employment market, and not to mentioned at greater risk of dangerous climate change.

To arrange interviews, please contact Clare Price in ODI’s media team, on phone +44 (0)7808 791 265, or email: [email protected]

BIOGRAPHY: Shelagh Whitley is a leading expert on fossil fuel subsidies.
Publications include:
The fossil fuel bailout: G20 subsidies for oil, gas and coal exploration

Time to change the game: subsidies and climate

ODI is the UK’s leading think tank on development aid issues.