Oil giant BP announced Sunday that it is dropping its stake in Russian energy company Rosneft — the latest private severing of ties with Russia as the global superpower invades neighboring Ukraine.
BP, which has held a 19.75% stake in Rosneft since 2013, also said its chief executive, Bernard Looney, would resign from the Russian company’s board, effective immediately. Bob Dudley, the former CEO of BP, will also resign from Rosneft’s board of directors.
“I am convinced that the decisions we have made as a board of directors are not only the right thing to do, but are also in BP’s long-term interest,” Looney said in a statement. “Our immediate priority is to take care of our great people in the region and we will do everything we can to support them.”
The company explicitly cited the ongoing Russian attack on Ukraine as the reason for the outage.
“Russia’s attack on Ukraine is an act of aggression with tragic consequences throughout the region,” BP President Helge Lund said. “BP has been in Russia for more than 30 years, working with illustrious Russian colleagues. However, this military action represents a fundamental change.”
BP has also acknowledged that relations with Rosneft, a government-run company, are of direct benefit to the Russian government.
“We can no longer support BP representatives taking a role on Rosneft’s board of directors,” Lund said. “Rosneft’s ownership is no longer aligned with BP’s business and strategy, and now it is the Board’s decision to relinquish BP’s stake in Rosneft. The BP Board believes that these decisions are in the best long-term interests of all of our shareholders.”
Kwasi Quarting, UK Minister for Business and Energy, praised BP’s move in a tweet on Sunday.
“The unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine should serve as a wake-up call for British companies with commercial interests in Putin’s Russia,” he said.
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