, LONDON, Jan 15- Energy giant BP said it was shedding 200 staff jobs and 100 contractors in its North Sea operations on Thursday following a sharp drop in oil prices.
The company employs around 3,000 people in Aberdeen in Scotland, the main hub for the offshore oil industry.
Trevor Garlick, regional president for BP North Sea, said the cuts were inevitable due to the “well-documented challenges of operating in this maturing region” and “toughening market conditions”.
But he added: “We are committed to the North Sea and see a long-term future for our business here.”
British energy minister Ed Davey told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the government would “do everything we can” to retain jobs in the sector.
“We have got to make sure we have a long-term view and are not just panicked by short-term changes in the oil prices,” said Davey, who was meeting with oil industry executives in Aberdeen on Thursday.
Scotland earlier this week urged the British government to ease the tax burden on the North Sea oil industry to help it cope with sliding prices.
The oil industry employs about 225,000 people in Scotland, generating £17.7 billion ($26.9 billion, 23 billion euros) in revenues for the regional economy in 2013, according to Scottish Development International.
Oil prices have slumped by more than 50 percent since June.