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British oil group BP lost nearly €17 billion in 2020

Credit: Belga

British oil and gas company BP suffered a net loss of $20.3 billion (over €16.8 billion) in 2020, the company revealed on Tuesday.

For comparison, the group had a profit of $4 billion (€3.3 billion) in 2019.

“2020 will forever be remembered for the pain and sadness caused by Covid-19. Lives were lost – livelihoods destroyed. Our sector was hit hard as well,” said BP CEO Bernard Looney.

“Road and air travel are down, as are oil demand, prices and margins,” Looney said, calling 2020 “a pivotal year for the company.”

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As one example of struggles in the air travel sector, low-cost airline Ryanair announced on Monday that it was expecting to experience the worst financial year in its history, suffering a loss of €306 million between October and December alone.

The coronavirus crisis caused oil consumption to collapse, particularly during the first lockdown, with oil prices dropping to negative values in April.

While barrels of both WTI and Brent crude oil are worth over $50 (€41.44) again, prices have yet to return to pre-coronavirus levels.

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times