BP plunges into first quarter loss after oil price collapse | Business

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BP plunged into a loss for the first three months of the year amid rising debt and falling world oil prices, but will still pay its shareholders a rising dividend.

The collapse in oil demand due to the coronavirus pandemic led BP to a loss of 628 million dollars (505 million pounds sterling) for the first quarter, against a profit of 2 billion dollars at the same period l last year.

BP said “exceptionally difficult” market conditions lowered profits from the company’s underlying replacement costs, its preferred profit measure, by two-thirds to $ 791 million for the quarter, down from 2, $ 35 billion last year.

The oil giant has told investors it faces “an exceptional level of uncertainty” and the risk of “more lasting consequences” to come, including higher debt, lower spending and downsizing.

But the energy company FTSE 100 will still pay shareholders, including thousands of retail and pension investors, a dividend for the past three months.

“Our industry has been hit by supply and demand shocks on a scale never seen before, but this is no excuse to go inward,” said BP boss Bernard Looney. “It is brutal, the future is unknowable, but I am also confident that we will be able to get through this.”

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