Business

Exit from Russia pushes BP to £16 billion loss

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P has taken a $25 billion hit from its decision to exit Russia, pushing the oil giant to a quarterly loss of $20.3 billion (£16.2 billion).

The decision to exit its 19.75% stake in Russian oil giant Rosneft has forced the company to take a $25.5 billion charge in the first quarter of the year, pushing it to the large headline loss.

BP was one of the first major businesses to announce it was pulling out of Russia as a result of the invasion of Ukraine, ending a decades long relationship.

“In a quarter dominated by the tragic events in Ukraine and volatility in energy markets, bp’s focus has been on supplying the reliable energy our customers need,” CEO Bernard Looney said.

“Our decision in February to exit our shareholding in Rosneft resulted in the material non-cash charges and headline loss we reported today. But it has not changed our strategy, our financial frame, or our expectations for shareholder distributions.”

BP made an underlying profit of $6.2 billion in the first quarter, up from $2.6 billion this time last year and $4 billion in the final three months of 2021.

Operating profits were boosted by “exceptional oil and gas trading” and higher prices, as oil and gas prices soared due to the war in Ukraine.

BP maintained its dividend of 5.46 cents per shares and said it would buyback $2.5 billion of is shares in the next few months, following $1.6 billion of buybacks so far this year.

“We are delivering on our commitment to shareholder distributions,” said CFO Murrya Auchincloss.

The company’s deicision to maintain payouts risks reigniting the row over a possible windfall tax on the energy industry to help address the cost of living crisis.

The government has so far resisted calls for a one-off tax but there are signs of a possible division emerging within the cabinet. Chancellor Rishi Sunak said in an interview with Mumsnet last week that he would “look at” a possible windfall tax if the industry failed to use profits for investment in new oil and gas projects.

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