Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

A BP service station outside Brighton, England, on Jan. 30, 2021.

TOBY MELVILLE/Reuters

Energy group BP PLC said on Tuesday it expects to have hit its US$35-billion net debt target in the first quarter of this year, sooner than expected and paving the way for it to deliver on its promise of buying back shares.

“This is a result of earlier than anticipated delivery of disposal proceeds combined with very strong business performance during the first quarter,” chief executive officer Bernard Looney said in a statement.

Shares in the London-based company, which had previously expected to reach the net debt target in around the fourth quarter of 2021 or the first quarter of 2022, rose as much as 3 per cent to 299 pence in early trade on news it would reach the target sooner.

Story continues below advertisement

BP shares are now up around 16 per cent this year, after shedding 45 per cent in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic hit oil demand.

BP plunged to a US$5.7-billion loss last year and had a debt pile of US$39-billion at the end of 2020. It had expected that debt level to rise in the first half of 2021 owing to several payments due.

However, in the first quarter it generated around US$4.7-billion from sale proceeds.

As part of Mr. Looney’s plan to shift the focus of the oil major to low carbon energy investments, BP aims to sell US$25-billion of assets by 2025.

BP said in February that it plans to start share buybacks once it reaches its debt target. The company said on Tuesday that it would provide an update on share buybacks during its first-quarter results on April 27.

“We estimate that at $60/bbl oil prices, the company will be buying back around [US$2-billion] - [US$2.5-billion] in shares annually,” Berenberg analyst Henry Tarr wrote in a note.

BP also said its performance in the first quarter of 2021 was driven by trading, the price environment and resilient operations.

Story continues below advertisement

Brent crude rose 22.6 per cent during the quarter on optimism about a recovery in oil demand after the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines since the start of the year.

BP said on Tuesday it expects sale proceeds in 2021 to be at the top end of its existing US$4-billion to US$6-billion range.

Be smart with your money. Get the latest investing insights delivered right to your inbox three times a week, with the Globe Investor newsletter. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies