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​BP cites oil prices in laying off 4,000 workers

LONDON - Oil company BP (BP) is cutting some 4,000 jobs in exploration and production over the next two years amid sharp drops in the price of crude.

The cuts in BP's global "upstream" business (as opposed to refining, which is known in the industry as "downstream") will include the loss of some 600 jobs in the North Sea.

The cost-cutting announced Tuesday comes as the price of oil tumbled to a 12 year-low near $31 a barrel. Part of the decline is due to concern over a drop in demand in China, which is depressing commodity prices worldwide.

Company officials began notifying employees of the action in town hall meetings in Scotland.

Mark Thomas, regional president for BP North Sea, said in a statement that because of toughening market conditions "we need to take specific steps to ensure our business remains competitive and robust."

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