BP expects to slash the value of its assets by up to $17.5 billion after predicting the coronavirus pandemic will depress energy prices for years to come.
The British energy giant on Monday said it will take billions of dollars in impairment charges and write-offs thanks to the lasting effects of the COVID-19 crisis, which has caused oil prices to plummet amid evaporating demand.
BP announced the move as it lowered its long-term projections for energy prices because of the pandemic. The company said the crisis could weaken energy demand for a “sustained period” and speed up the world’s transition away from fossil fuels.
The updated outlook came amid BP’s efforts to position itself as a more environmentally friendly company with a greater focus on renewable energy. The London-based firm aims to cut its carbon emissions to “net zero” by 2050.
“I am confident that these difficult decisions — rooted in our net-zero ambition and reaffirmed by the pandemic — will better enable us to compete through the energy transition,” BP CEO Bernard Looney said in a statement.
BP’s US-listed shares dropped 4.7 percent to $23.57 in premarket trading as of 8:21 a.m.
BP expects the price of Brent crude oil to average about $55 a barrel through 2050, down about 30 percent from its previous forecast of $70. It also cut its forecast for the price of Henry Hub gas by a similar amount to $2.90 per million British thermal units.
BP is still assessing the impact of those revisions, but it said the total amount of impairment charges and write-offs will range from $13 billion to $17.5 billion after taxes.
The coronavirus pandemic delivered a historic blow to the oil and gas industry as lockdowns aimed at controlling the disease brought worldwide travel to a halt. The benchmark US crude oil price turned negative for the first time ever in May, though it has since recovered to about $35 a barrel as of Monday morning.
Looney announced last week that BP would cut nearly 10,000 jobs as the company sought to reduce costs amid the plunge in oil prices.
With Post Wires
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