BP plunges into $20.3b annual loss on virus

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BP reported Tuesday that it tumbled into a massive $20.3-billion (16.8-billion- euro) net loss last year, despite a slender fourth-quarter profit, as the coronavirus pandemic ravaged global energy demand. The enormous loss contrasted sharply with net profit of $4.0 billion in 2019, the British energy major said, adding that the oil sector had been “hit hard” by the Covid-19 crisis. The London-listed giant said the loss was driven by tumbling oil and gas prices, as well as significant impairments and exploration write-offs during a tumultuous year for the energy industry. However in the fourth quarter — the three months to December — net profit hit $1.36 billion after the sale of BP’s petrochemical business to privately-owned rival Ineos for $5.0 billion. BP last year axed almost 10,000 jobs or 15 percent of its global workforce and embarked upon major asset disposals after the pandemic caused huge asset writedowns.—AFP