Russian action

BP to offload stake in Rosneft, CEO quits board

Bernard Looney
Bernard Looney: shocked and saddened

BP is selling its controversial 19.75% stake in the Russian energy group Rosneft following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The energy company said chief executive Bernard Looney is resigning from the board of Rosneft with immediate effect.

The other Rosneft director nominated by BP, former group chief executive Bob Dudley, is also leaving the board. 

Rosneft is providing fuel to Russia’s troops and BP said it will also exit its other businesses with Rosneft within Russia which includes an interest in three joint ventures.

Selling the Rosneft stake will mean two material changes to BP’s financial reporting and finances in the results for the first quarter of 2022. 

The decision comes after Mr Looney was summoned to a meeting with Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng on Friday amid growing unease about BP’s activities in Russia as economic sanctions are imposed on Vladimir Putin’s regime.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Mr Looney said: “I have been deeply shocked and saddened by the situation unfolding in Ukraine and my heart goes out to everyone affected.

“It has caused us to fundamentally rethink BP’s position with Rosneft. I am convinced that the decisions we have taken as a board are not only the right thing to do, but are also in the long-term interests of BP.

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“Our immediate priority is caring for our great people in the region and we will do our utmost to support them. We are also looking at how BP can support the wider humanitarian effort.”

Chairman Helge Lund said: “Russia’s attack on Ukraine is an act of aggression which is having tragic consequences across the region.

“BP has operated in Russia for over 30 years, working with brilliant Russian colleagues. However, this military action represents a fundamental change. It has led the BP board to conclude, after a thorough process, that our involvement with Rosneft, a state-owned enterprise, simply cannot continue.

“We can no longer support bp representatives holding a role on the Rosneft board. The Rosneft holding is no longer aligned with BP’s business and strategy and it is now the board’s decision to exit bp’s shareholding in Rosneft. The BP board believes these decisions are in the best long-term interests of all our shareholders.”

Mr Kwarteng said today: ‘I welcome BP’s decision to exit its shareholding in Rosneft oil company.

“Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine must be a wake-up call for British businesses with commercial interests in Putin’s Russia.”

The EU has unveiled a new package of sanctions against Putin’s regime, closing off its airspace to all Russian planes and banning Kremlin propaganda outlets Russia Today and Sputnik. 

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen announced the new measures in a press conference this afternoon.

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Ms von der Leyen said this was the first time the EU had done this for a country under attack. 

She said: “We are shutting down the EU’s airspace for all Russian aircraft, including the private jets of oligarchs. Second, in another unprecedented step, we will ban, in the EU, the Kremlin’s media machine.

“The state-owned Russia Today and Sputnik, as well as their subsidiaries, will no longer be able to spread their lies to support Putin’s lies.”

Ms von der Leyen also revealed further sanctions against the pro-Kremlin regime of Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus by stopping exports of products such as timber, iron and steel.

“We will target the other aggressor of this war, Lukashenko’s regime, which is complicit in the vicious attack against Ukraine,” she said.  



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