BP To Offload Stake In Russian Oil Firm

BP is to offload its 19.75% stake in Russian state-owned oil firm Rosneft after Russia’s “act of aggression in Ukraine”.

The oil giant had come under pressure from the UK government to make the move since Thursday’s invasion. 

It has held the shareholding in the Russian company since 2013. 

BP chief executive Bernard Looney has resigned “with immediate effect” from the Rosneft board, as has fellow BP-nominated director Bob Dudley. 

Rosneft said thirty years of successful cooperation had been ruined and blamed BP’s decision on “unprecedented political pressure”, according to reports from Russian news agencies. 

Mr Looney had been on the Rosneft board since 2020, alongside its chairman Igor Sechin, who is a close friend and ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

The PA News agency reported Mr Looney was in Russia as recently as October, when he appeared on a panel with Mr Putin, which he later described as a “privilege”.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng spoke to the BP boss on Friday and left him in “no doubt about the seriousness of government concerns about BP’s overexposure to Russian interests” according to an official. 

BP chairman Helge Lund said that, while BP had operated in Russia for more than 30 years and had “brilliant Russian colleagues”, Russia’s attack on Ukraine was “having tragic consequences across the region” and represented 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.”BBC