In one of the first and important reverberations on oil companies deprived of the impact of Russia’s war aggression on Ukraine, the British BP announced the sale of its 19.75% stake in Russia’s Rosneft, another of the major international oil companies.
By market capitalization, BP (originally British Petroleum, then Beyond Petroleum) ranked ninth in the world ranking of oil and gas companies at the end of 2021, ahead of Rosfnet (see table), a ranking led by the Arab-American Saudi Arabia. Aramco (Saudi Arabian-American Company).
In a statement, BP announced the sale of its 19.75% stake, the immediate resignation of its representatives to the Rosneft board, starting with the current CEO, Bernard Looney, and that it will stop reporting data on the reserves, production or profits of its former participation in Rosfnet.
“Russia’s attack on Ukraine is an act of aggression that is having tragic consequences throughout the region. BP has operated in Russia for more than 30 years, working with brilliant Russian colleagues. However, this military action is a fundamental change and has led the company’s board to conclude that our involvement with Rosneft, a state-owned company, simply cannot continue.. No BP representative can continue to have any role on Rosfneft’s board. Our actions in Rosneft are no longer aligned with our business strategy and the BP board believes that these decisions are in the best long-term interest of our shareholders,” he said. Helge Lund, on behalf of BP. As well bob dudleyformer CEO of the firm, will leave his position on the board of Rosneft.
The increase in international energy prices was one of the pillars of the power of Vladimir Putinthrough the large Russian state oil companies and also through the intervention of executives and businessmen close to the head of the Kremlin, with whom he built an enormous network of power and wealth.
Gazprom, another Russian spinner, is in seventh place in the ranking of the world’s major oil companies, and Novatek and Lukoil, also Russian, are in positions 14 and 18 respectively. The four Russian companies in the Top 20 had a market capitalization of nearly $350 billion at the end of 2021.
Russia’s power in oil and gas goes even beyond these figures, to the point of competing with Saudi in terms of the ability to “move” the world price of oil. In addition, it supplies about 40% of the gas consumption of the countries of the European Union, a proportion that in the case of Germany is close to 60 percent and makes it a source of supply that is very difficult to replace in the short or medium term, especially in the winter months. “The worst blunder of Angela Merkel (the former German chancellor) was to give the key to the heating to Putin”, the German historian recently observed Karl Schlogel, specialized in the history of Russia and author of the book “The Soviet Century”.
In any case, the decision of BP, the British oil company, is only the first throb of what will probably be a great rearrangement of the oil sector, one of the most sensitive to the vibrations and vicissitudes of world geopolitics.