The British company said in a statement Sunday that it would exit its 19.75% stake in the Russian state oil giant, describing Moscow’s decision to attack its neighbor as “an act of aggression which is having tragic consequences across the region.”
BP CEO Bernard Looney and former CEO Bob Dudley will also stand down with immediate effect from Rosneft’s board, where they had served alongside Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
BP chair Helge Lund said that the company had operated in Russia for over 30 years and worked with “brilliant” colleagues there.
“However, this military action represents a fundamental change,” Lund said in a statement. “It has led the BP board to conclude, after a thorough process, that our involvement with Rosneft, a state-owned enterprise, simply cannot continue.”
Lund said the Rosneft holding was no longer in line with BP’s business and strategy.
“Like so many, I have been deeply shocked and saddened by the situation unfolding in Ukraine and my heart goes out to everyone affected,” Looney said in the statement. “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.”
In addition to its stake in Rosneft, BP had three joint ventures with Russia’s biggest oil company — a 20% stake in the Taas-Yuryakh oil project in eastern Siberia, 49% of Yermak Neftegaz in Western Siberia and 49% in the Kharampur oil and gas project.
BP is not alone among major Western oil companies in helping Russia pump oil and gas.
Its subsidiary, Exxon Neftegas Limited, has a 30% stake in Sakhalin-1 — a vast oil and natural gas project located off Sakhalin Island in the Russian Far East. It has operated the project since 1995 on behalf of a consortium that includes Japanese and Indian partners, as well as two affiliates of Rosneft.
— Mark Thompson contributed reporting.