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BP announces restructuring as oil prices plunge

[LONDON] British energy giant BP on Wednesday announced a major restructuring of the company's operations faced with sliding revenues from plunging oil prices.

BP said it would take a restructuring charge totalling about US$1.0 billion (800 million euros) over the next year "as part of its wider ongoing group-wide programme to simplify across its upstream and downstream activities and corporate functions".

It added it would provide further details in upcoming earnings statements. Reports say BP could cut jobs as part of the restructuring plan.

The company has been hit hard in recent months by plunging oil prices, which have collapsed by more than 40 per cent since June to strike five-year low points this week.

It comes after BP - which was devastated by the catastrophic Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010 - has been forced to sell off billions of dollars of assets to meet the clean-up bill.

"We have already been working very hard over these past 18 months or so to right-size our organisation as a result of completing more than USs$43 billion of divestments," chief executive Bob Dudley said in Wednesday's statement.

"We are clearly a more focused business now and, without diverting our attention from safety and reliability, our goal is to make BP even stronger and more competitive.

"The simplification work we have already done is serving us well as we face the tougher external environment. We continue to seek opportunities to eliminate duplication and stop unnecessary activity that is not fully aligned with the group's strategy."