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    BP Begins U.S. Job Cuts

    Company will close its Chicago branch as part of the restructuring program.

    LONDON -- BP will close its Chicago office and relocate to a smaller site downtown, putting more than 2,000 jobs at risk with redundancy or relocation, the Financial Times reported.

    The plan was communicated to BP staff last week, and is the first part of the restructuring program that was announced by the company's chief executive, Tony Hayward, the report stated.

    The goal for the plan is to cut overhead and rising costs, while at the same time, improving the company's operational performance, according to the Times.

    The Chicago office -- the second-biggest location for BP employees in the U.S., where about 3,000 people work at the office in Warrenville, Ill. -- will be replaced by a smaller office downtown, home to a few hundred staff, the report stated. The remaining employees will be either redundant or relocated to Houston, according to the Times.

    Meanwhile, the company's New York office -- located on Madison Avenue and employs 20 investor relations staff -- will also be closed and relocated to Houston, the report stated.

    The plans result in more jobs moving to Houston, where BP currently employs about 7,000 people, the report stated.

    BP declined to comment on its plans to the Times. BP refused to specify the number of jobs that will be removed from its 100,000-strong global workforce, but the number is expected to run into the thousands, the Times reported.

    Overseas, the majority of the cuts are likely to hit the United Kingdom, where the company has more support functions, according to the report.

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