BP offloads its nearly 20% stake in Russia’s Rosneft

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The Kremlin is reflected in the polished company plate of the state-controlled Russian oil giant Rosneft at the entrance of the headquarters in Moscow,
Dmitry Kostyukov | AFP | Getty Images

British energy giant BP announced Sunday it was offloading its 19.75% stake in Rosneft, a Russian-controlled oil company.

BP CEO Bernard Looney and former exec Bob Dudley are also resigning from Rosneft’s board, effective immediately. Looney had been a director of Rosneft as one of two BP-nominated directors since 2020. Dudley had been a director since 2013, the company said.

BP has worked in Russia for more than 30 years, but the Russian invasion of Ukraine has forced the company to reevaluate its holding.

“This military action represents a fundamental change,” BP chair Helge Lund said in a statement. “It has led the BP board to conclude, after a thorough process, that our involvement with Rosneft, a state-owned enterprise, simply cannot continue.”

BP had been facing surmounting pressure from the British government to exit its stake in the company, The Wall Street Journal reported last week. British officials were accusing Rosneft of fueling the Kremlin’s advance into Ukraine, the paper said.

UK’s business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, who reportedly held a talk last week with BP, said on Twitter he welcomed the company’s decision.

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

Rosneft had contributed about a third of BP’s oil-and-gas production, according to the Journal.

As a result of offloading its stake, BP said it expects to report a material non-cash charge with its first-quarter 2022 results in May.

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