British energy giant BP posts annual loss on Russia exit

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BP slid into a net loss last year after its exit from Russia following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, the British energy giant announced Tuesday, despite the surge in oil prices.

The company posted annual losses after tax totaling $2.5 billion, compared with net profit of $7.6 billion in 2021.

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Excluding the exceptional hit, profit more than doubled to $27.7 billion on soaring oil and gas prices -- mirroring huge 2022 earnings by BP’s rivals.

Oil and gas prices soared last year after the attack by major energy producer Russia on neighboring Ukraine triggered massive supply constraints.

While consumers have faced soaring heating and electricity bills, fueling a cost-of-living crisis, energy majors have passed on large parts of ballooning revenues to shareholders in the form of dividend hikes and share buybacks.

BP said its fourth-quarter dividend would rise 10 percent and announced a fresh buyback totaling $2.75 billion.

Energy companies are also using big gains to invest in renewables as they face pressure from governments to become greener companies.

BP updated its green strategy Tuesday alongside its results and was immediately accused of trying to mask damage caused by continued production of fossil fuels.

“It’s time to stop drilling and start making polluters... pay the price for the climate damage they are causing all around the world,” Greenpeace UK’s head of climate justice, Kate Blagojevic, said in a statement.

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