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    Russian exit consigns BP to Q1 $20.4bn loss


Despite increasing cash flow to $8.2bn, BP has sunk to a $20.4bn loss thanks to a colossal write-down on its Russian activities.

by: Callum Cyrus

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Russian exit consigns BP to Q1 $20.4bn loss

BP said on May 2 that impairments on its Russian operations had wiped out oil and gas earnings in the first quarter, sending the UK major to a $20.4bn loss for January - March.

The loss compares with a $2.3bn profit in the previous three months, and $4.7bn for the first quarter of last year.

BP's operating cash flow climbed from $6.1bn to $8.2bn year-on-year, however it was not enough to compensate for pre-tax charges of $24bn on divesting its Rosneft stake and $1.5bn related to other ventures with the Russian oil giant.

The announcement that BP's involvement in Rosneft was ending came on February 27, calling time on a relationship that dates back almost a decade. China's majors CNPC, CNOOC and Sinopec are rumoured to have entered talks on an acquisition, but any sale is likely to heavily discount the $26.7bn sum attributed to the equity swap for BP's 50% TNK-BP stake in 2013.

Away from the massive Russia write down, BP said net debt fell to $27.5bn in March from $30.6bn at the end of December. Positive news on BP's debt pile comes as it mounts a further $2.5bn share buyback program, having repurchased $1.6bn of its equity in the first quarter.