BP reports full-year net loss of $5.7 billion after ‘brutal’ year

PUBLISHED: Tue, 02 Feb 2021 09:29:38 GMT
Sam Meredith
CNBC
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Key Points
  • BP posted a full-year underlying replacement cost loss, used as a proxy for net profit/loss, of $5.7 billion. That compared with a net profit of $10 billion for the 2019 fiscal year.
  • Analysts polled by Refinitiv had expected a full-year net loss of $4.8 billion.
  • BP CEO Bernard Looney described 2020 as a “pivotal year” for the company and the “toughest of his career.”
Signage on fuel pumps at a BP gas station in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S., on Friday, Jan. 29, 2021. BP Plc is scheduled to release earnings figures on February 2. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

LONDON — Energy giant BP on Tuesday reported a weaker-than-expected full-year net loss, following a tumultuous 12-months in which the global oil and gas industry faced a torrent of bad news.

The U.K.-based oil and gas company posted a full-year underlying replacement cost loss, used as a proxy for net profit/loss, of $5.7 billion. That compared with a net profit of $10 billion for the 2019 fiscal year.

Analysts polled by Refinitiv had expected a full-year net loss of $4.8 billion.

BP also posted fourth-quarter net profit of $115million, missing analyst expectations of $285.5 million.

The firm’s results come as energy companies attempt to prove to investors that they have gained a more stable footing on stronger commodity prices.

The oil and gas industry was sent into a tailspin last year, as the coronavirus pandemic coincided with a historic demand shock, falling commodity prices, evaporating profits, unprecedented write downs and tens of thousands of job cuts. It will likely become known as the worst year in the history of oil markets, the head of the International Energy Agency has previously said.

The world’s largest oil and gas companies are now seeking to put it behind them, pointing instead to the prospect of an economic rebound in 2021 and hopes for a fuel demand recovery in the coming months.

Shares of BP are up more than 6% year-to-date, having tanked almost 46% last year.

Oil prices

International benchmark Brent crude futures traded at $56.94a barrel on Tuesday morning, up over 1%, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures stood at $54.17, around 1.2% higher.

Oil prices have steadily improved since the start of the year, supported by ongoing production cuts and the mass rollout of Covid vaccines.

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However, major forecasters, including the IEA and OPEC, have warned the 2021 outlook for the oil market is still clouded by pandemic fears.

An upsurge in coronavirus cases in recent weeks has led to renewed lockdown measures and travel restrictions in some countries.