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BP profits dive 66% as coronavirus hits oil demand

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BP’s first quarter profit has dived by two thirds after the global coronavirus crisis hit demand for oil.

The oil giant warned it was facing an “exceptional level of uncertainty” in the near term after a sharp reduction in need for its products.

Lockdowns around the world have been keeping people inside, reducing demand for oil.

For the first time in history last week US oil prices turned negative before rising again.

BP said that first quarter underlying replacement cost profit, its definition of net income, was $800m (£645m) in the first three months of 2020 – down from $2.4bn a year earlier.

New chief executive Bernard Looney said: “Our industry has been hit by supply and demand shocks on a scale never seen before, but that is no excuse to turn inward.

“We are focusing our efforts on protecting our people, supporting our communities and strengthening our finances.

“We are determined to perform with purpose and remain committed to delivering our net zero [emissions by 2050] ambition.”

It comes as oil prices remain depressed. The international benchmark Brent crude currently costs about $19 a barrel, down from around $70 in early January.

US oil is trading at just $11 a barrel.

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