BP ditches stake in Russia’s Rosneft over Ukraine ‘aggression’

Energy giant BP said Sunday it is exiting its $14 billion shareholding in Russia’s state-owned Rosneft, citing Moscow’s “act of aggression” against Ukraine.

The U.K.-listed company has been under pressure from the British government over its 19.75 percent stake in Rosneft, making it the Russian company’s largest private shareholder.

BP’s Chief Executive Bernard Looney is also resigning from the Rosneft board “with immediate effect,” the company said, while former BP group CEO Bob Dudley is also quitting the board. Looney has been a director of Rosneft since 2020, while Dudley has been a director since 2013.

That means BP will no longer recognize a share of Rosneft’s income, production and reserves on its own books, and will treat its stake in the Russian company “as a financial asset measured at fair value.”

Announcing the move, BP Chairman Helge Lund branded Russia’s attack on Ukraine “an act of aggression which is having tragic consequences across the region.”

“However, this military action represents a fundamental change,” he added. “It has led the bp board to conclude, after a thorough process, that our involvement with Rosneft, a state-owned enterprise, simply cannot continue.”

Looney was summoned to a meeting Friday at which the U.K.’s Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng expressed concern about BP’s commercial interests in Russia.

Welcoming the BP announcement, Kwarteng added: “Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine must be a wake up call for British businesses with commercial interests in Putin’s Russia.”

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