BP profits more than doubled to £23billion last year

BP profits more than doubled to £23billion last year as households struggled with soaring energy bills

  • Ministers today faced demands to make BP subject to ‘proper’ windfall tax 
  • READ MORE: Oil and gas giant Shell’s annual profits surge to £32billion  

BP profits more than doubled to £23billion last year as the oil major benefitted from runaway gas prices caused by the war in Ukraine.

The results, which come as households continue to struggle with high gas and electricity bills, prompted fresh calls for a higher windfall tax on energy firms. 

BP also said that it had slashed its emissions reduction targets by a third, and will produce much more oil and gas by the end of this decade than previously thought.

The business is the focus of another political row today, with shadow climate secretary Ed Miliband calling on ministers to introduce a ‘proper’ windfall tax’. 

It comes just days after Shell reported its highest profit on record at nearly 40billion dollars (£33billion).

BP unveiled bumper profits today, with the FTSE 100 oil major making £23billion last year

Within minutes, unions and pressure groups voiced outrage that BP is making enormous profits while ordinary people struggle to afford the energy it sells.

Boost for households as experts forecast energy bills will be £600 less than feared

Trades Union Congress general secretary Paul Nowak said: ‘As millions struggle to heat their homes and put food on the table, BP are laughing all the way to the bank.

‘Ministers are letting big oil and gas companies pocket billions in excess profits. But they are refusing to give nurses, teachers and other key workers a decent pay rise.’

Ed Miliband said: ‘What is so outrageous is that as fossil fuel companies rake in these enormous sums, Rishi Sunak still refuses to bring in a proper windfall tax that would make them pay their fair share.

‘In just eight weeks’ time, the Government plans to allow the energy price cap to rise to £3,000. Labour would use a proper windfall tax to stop prices going up in April.’

Perhaps more significantly in the long term, BP today slashed its environmental targets.

The company had been one of the first oil and gas majors in the world to announce an ambition to cut emissions to net zero by 2050.

As part of this it has previously promised that emissions will be 35-40% lower by the end of this decade.

However, today the company said that it was significantly revising this target. Instead it is targeting a 20-30% cut. 

Bernard Looney, who takes home around £4.5million a year, has been at BP since 1991 where he started off a drill engineer in the North Sea

Boss Bernard Looney said it was about investing in both the transition and the energy that is needed today as he announced an extra 8 billion dollars (£6.6billion) for oil and gas investment by 2030 and another 8 billion dollars for transition projects.

‘With today’s announcement we are leaning further in,’ he said.

‘We are growing our investment into our transition and, at the same time, growing investment into today’s energy system.

BP said that it now plans to cut oil and gas production by just 25% by the end of 2030 when compared to 2019. The previous target had been a 40% cut.

Greenpeace UK’s head of climate justice Kate Blagojevic said: ‘Not only will BP’s new strategy fail to deliver much-needed energy security in the UK but it will ensure that people across the globe already battling devastating droughts, floods and heatwaves, will continue losing their lives and livelihoods.’

BP said its underlying replacement cost profit was slightly lower in the last three months of the year compared to previous quarters at 4.8 billion dollars (£4billion).

BP said that the fourth quarter result had been affected by its gas marketing division, which saw below average results after an exceptional third quarter.

The ‘workaholic’ BP boss who took home £4.5MILLION in 2021: How ‘woke’ Bernard Looney, 53, grew up on dairy farm, divorced his life coach wife after two years – and once described energy giant as a ‘cash machine’

By Charlotte McLaughlin for MailOnline 

The boss of BP – which today reported profits had hit £23billion – is said to be a ‘woke’ workaholic who took home £4.5million in 2021.

Bernard Looney, who rose through the ranks after joining as a drill engineer in 1991 to become CEO in 2020, once called BP a ‘cash machine’.

The Irishman is often referred to as a ‘company man’, and boasts about his ‘green credentials’, commitment to diversity and humble beginnings on a dairy farm in Kerry.

Mr Looney also lists his pronouns as he/him on his social media profile – and is often pictured wearing jeans in online posts.

He divorced his wife of two years shortly before he became chief executive. 

Life coach Jacqueline Hurst has reportedly spoken about their marriage, claiming he used her to get a ‘promotion’ – and even dumped her via WhatsApp. 

Mr Looney, who is now based at BP’s London headquarters, grew up on a farm in Ashgrove near Kenmare as one of five children. 

Mr Looney has a popular Instagram account where he regularly posts casual pictures in jeans and jumpers 

He has explained how tough it was before he became the first of his family to go to University, the Irish Independent reported. 

He said: ‘Only about eight acres out of the 90 we had were actually arable. We had 14 cows and it was pretty much subsistence farming’.

Mr Looney would also help out on the farm as ‘the gopher, bringing them whichever tool they needed’ while his mother encouraged him to get on in life. He added: ‘She said if I could read, I could do anything.’   

While his parents, Mary and Tom Looney, left school when they were 11, he graduated from University College Dublin, which has produced many of Ireland’s Prime Ministers. 

He took his first job at the age of 20 as a BP drilling engineer in the North Sea near Aberdeen. He then was part of the Deep Horizon team in Mexico, which is forever associated with the largest oil spill in 2010 which dumped 210m gallons into the sea.

Mr Looney also worked in Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico and Vietnam before getting more senior roles and becoming chief executive of BP in February 2020. 

He announced a net zero ambition by 2050 and a ‘new purpose of reimagining energy for people and our planet’ on being made the top man at BP.  

Mr Looney’s life coach wife Jacqueline Hurst (pictured) has also reportedly spoke about her marriage to a ‘company man’ who was using her to get a ‘promotion’ and dumped her via WhatsApp

Mr Looney took his first job on graduating with BP at the age of 20 as a BP drilling engineer in the North Sea near Aberdeen

The Irishman also boasts about his ‘green credentials’, commitment to diversity and humble beginnings on a dairy farm in Kerry (pictured sheep at Gleninchaquin Park near Kenmare, Kerry) on LinkedIn

Mr Looney said: ‘Two of the most distinctive aspects of the strategy are our plans to reduce BP’s oil and gas production by 40% by 2030 and a 10-fold increase in annual spending on low carbon activities.’ 

But this has also brought his detractors who refer to him as the ‘woke’ evangelist of green initiatives. 

An industry source suggested to The Sunday Times he was ‘playing to the woke group’ and said there was ‘a degree of disenfranchisement, as you’d expect’ among BP’s ‘older generation’. 

Mr Looney has also come under fire within BP for his commitment to a 40 per cent cut in oil and gas production to meet environmental commitments. 

‘That’s a hell of a hydrocarbon reduction at a time when the world obviously needs it. No one else has got anything like that projection,’ a former senior insider told The Sunday Times. 

‘He was just a little too ambitious,’ he added. ‘It’s the right direction of travel … [but] it’s the judgment about the pace. My view — and one that’s widely shared — is they have been too aggressive.’ 

Another former employee also raised eyebrows at his pledges. ‘The question is, will it come off? And will he get the rate of return that he predicted?’ He added: ‘I wish he’d given himself a bit more wiggle room.’   

Mr Looney (pictured) has been described as inspiration for his commitment to inclusivity 

Mr Looney was also part of the Deep Horizon team in Mexico (pictured while part of the team 20 years ago), which is forever associated with the largest oil spill in 2010 which dumped 210m gallons into the sea, hurting wildlife

Mr Looney also wants a 10-fold increase in annual spending on low carbon activities. 

‘Oil is increasingly becoming socially challenged.’ Mr Looney said ‘I would talk about the people we’ve hired into BP in the past six months that we would have struggled to hire had we not laid out the [net zero] ambition.’ 

He has also been outspoken on mental health which he feels is his ‘great responsibility’ and on diversity including LGBT+ inclusion in the workplace. 

Mr Looney also regularly posts on Instagram where he spoke directly to the public, saying: ‘I look forward to sharing what I am up to, who I am meeting and offering a window into the decisions, challenges and opportunities that are ahead.’

He said he wanted people to open up about their oil and gas industry concerns. ‘I encourage you all to be candid – I consider honest and open discussion crucial,’ he wrote.

His estranged wife Ms Hurst wrote in her self-published book How To Do You: the Life Changing Art of Mastering Your Thoughts and Taking Control of Your Life about a marriage which The Sunday Times understands refers to Mr Looney. She claims that her husband only married her to get ahead at BP. 

Mr Looney is still known for his jeans and jumpers years on from his beginnings at BP

Ms Hurst, who has been married twice, wrote: ‘When my husband ended our marriage suddenly and without warning via a WhatsApp message, I was naturally devastated. 

‘I learned later that he had only married me because he wanted to get to the next level of seniority in the company he worked for and he had to be seen to be married, in order to be given the promotion. 

‘Unbelievable, I know, but that was the case. Getting my mind – and thoughts -around what had happened took time.’

Her and Mr Looney married in October 2017 and divorced in 2019, three months before he became chief executive. 

A friend of Mr Looney’s told the Sunday Times: ‘He was briefly married during a period in which he wasn’t promoted. So if he married her to get promoted, that didn’t seem to have worked. Maybe he divorced her to get promoted.’

BP has seen its profits grow off the back of a global surge in price, in part ramped up by the war in Ukraine and inflation pressures post-Covid. 

The energy giant also warned that energy prices will continue to soar as the invasion of Ukraine will continue to disrupt Russian supply and cause crude oil and gas prices to stay high over the third quarter.

And now in light of the ‘eye watering profits’ at the oil company which are seen as an ‘insult’ to hardworking families, Mr Looney is expected this year to take home £11.7m this year after his pay ballooned to nearly £4.5m in 2021

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