Ukraine war: BP offloads its 20% stake in state-owned Russian oil and gas company Rosneft

BP has cut ties with the Russian oil and gas giant Rosneft.
BP has cut ties with the Russian oil and gas giant Rosneft.   -  Copyright  Caroline Spiezio/Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
By Euronews Green  with APTN

Oil and gas giant BP is exiting its share in Rosneft, a state-controlled Russian oil and gas company, in reaction to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

BP has held a 19.75 per cent stake in Rosneft since 2013. That stake is currently valued at €12.6 billion.

The move comes after increased pressure from the UK government and some opposition parties (Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru). Earlier this week Extinction Rebellion Ukraine highlighted that the Russian invasion has been "financed by fossil fuels."

London-based BP also said its CEO, Bernard Looney, and former BP executive Bob Dudley will immediately resign from Rosneft’s board.

“Like so many, 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,” Looney said in a statement.

BP Chairman Helge Lund said BP has operated in Russia for more than 30 years.

“However, this military action represents a fundamental change,” Lund said in a statement.

Kwasi Kwarteng, the UK's secretary of state for business and energy, said he welcomed BP'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 in a tweet.

BP said it will take two non-cash charges in the first quarter to reflect the change, including a €9.9 billion charge for foreign exchange losses that have accumulated since 2013.

Rosneft's partnerships with Western oil and gas companies have been stymied before.

In 2011, Exxon Mobil, led at the time by future US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, signed a deal with Rosneft to potentially drill in the oil-rich Russian Arctic. But Exxon ended that partnership in 2017, citing US and European sanctions against Russia.