BP plunged to a $5.7 billion loss last year, its first in a decade, as the pandemic took a heavy toll on oil demand, with fuel consumption continuing to slide so far this year amid global travel restrictions.
For the last quarter of 2020, BP reported a profit of $115 million, falling short of analysts' forecasts due to weak oil and gas sales and subdued trading, it said on Tuesday. “These results reflect a truly tough quarter,” CFO Murray Auchincloss said in a statement.
“We expect renewed Covid-19 restrictions to have a greater impact on product demand, with January retail volumes down by around 20 per cent year on year, compared with a decline of 11 per cent in the fourth quarter," BP said. Oil demand is nevertheless expected to recover in 2021, the company said. Tighter global natural gas markets are expected to further support profits, it said, although it saw coronavirus-related restrictions weighing on refined products demand in the first quarter. Adjusted profit at BP's downstream — or refining and marketing — business in the fourth quarter collapsed to $126 million, less than a tenth of what it was a year earlier.
“We have had the worst recession, I guess, in the world since the ’40s. It was a brutal year,” Bernard Looney, CEO of BP, told CNBC’s Squawk Box Europe.
With inputs from CNBC