BP will freeze pay for most of its employees

HOUSTON — Oil giant BP said it will freeze most of its employees pay in 2015, after a collapse in crude prices has left oil companies scrambling to cut costs.

The announcement came today in an internal message to employees, said BP spokesman Brett Clanton in an emailed statement.

“BP has today informed staff that we intend to freeze base pay across the company,” he said, “Together, with the work we are doing to simplify and increase efficiency throughout BP, we see this as a prudent response to the currently challenging market environment in which BP operates.”

London-based BP Plc employed 83,900 — about 20,000 in the U.S. — as of December 2013, the company said in its most recent annual report. BP is due to release its 2014 fourth-quarter and annual earnings on Feb. 3.

Crude oil has swooned to less than half its value since the summer of 2014, sparking an industry-wide push to reduce costs as revenue from selling crude tapers off.

In January, BP said it expected to cut about 300 jobs in its North Sea business. Those cuts were to include 200 onshore staff and 100 contractor roles.

In December, BP said it expected to see $1 billion in restructuring charges in 2015 due to accelerated job cuts and pared back oil production. At the same time, the oil giant is continuing to fight a long-running legal battle over $13.7 billion in fines levied against it for its role in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.