Kenmare native and BP chief resigns from board of Russian energy company

Kenmare native and BP chief resigns from board of Russian energy company
BP Chief Executive Bernard Looney, from Kenmare, has resigned from the board of Rosneft as BP exits its near-20-per-cent shareholding in the Russian oil giant.

The company’s divestment of its 19.75-per-cent stake will result in charges of up to $25billion (approximately €22.2billion) at the end of the first quarter of 2022.

The announcement also outlined that Mr Looney is resigning from the Russian Geographical Society’s Board of Trustees. The society has been chaired by Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Putin personally thanked Mr Looney for his contribution to a virtual society meeting in April 2021.

Mr Looney who comes from a dairy farm in Ashgrove outside Kenmare town, has worked with BP since 1991 after graduating from UCD with a degree in Electrical Engineering. He has been one of two BP-nominated Rosneft directors since 2020.

The move followed increasing pressure from the UK government, and it is understood that Mr Looney took part in discussions with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Kwasi Kwarteng last week relating to the company’s position.

“Like so many, I have been deeply shocked and saddened by the situation unfolding in Ukraine and my heart goes out to everyone affected,” Mr Looney said in a statement released on Sunday.

“It has caused us to fundamentally rethink bp’s position with Rosneft. I am convinced that the decisions we have taken as a board are not only the right thing to do, but are also in the long-term interests of BP.

“Our immediate priority is caring for our great people in the region and we will do our utmost to support them. We are also looking at how BP can support the wider humanitarian effort.”