BP chief’s £10m pay is 170 times higher than most staff
The boss of BP earned 170 times more than his average employee last year as his pay doubled to around £10m after the company benefited from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
New figures from the oil giant showed that Bernard Looney’s total pay packet increased from around £4.5m in 2021. The company’s profit doubled between 2021 and 2022, but the
increase was largely thanks to a long-term incentive that was paid to Mr Looney. This means that Mr Looney’s remuneration was around 172 times higher than the average employee at the oil and gas giant.
Compared to the 25th percentile – that is to say an employee whose pay was less than three in four of their colleagues’ – Mr Looney’s pay was 421 times higher. Those in the 25th percentile also saw their pay increase, going from £21,450 in 2021 to £23,810 a year later. The average salary for workers across all employers in the UK is around £33,000.
BP fared well last year thanks in no small part to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. As cruise missiles started falling on Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities, the price of oil and gas ticked upwards last year, peaking in August and June respectively. The cost of gas in particular spiked for European customers. Oil is largely transported by ship around the world so it was easier for other countries to supply oil to Europe.
But there are many fewer gas ships in the world, so as supply from Russian pipelines dried up the price of gas peaked at somewhere around 15 times its historical average. BP and its rivals around the world helped avoid a massive energy crunch in Europe by supplying oil and gas to the continent. But it came at a price as the energy they sold was much more valuable to their customers.
By January this year, the average household energy bill was nearly £4,300 per year – four times where it had been before the crisis. The government has racked up a massive bill to help households so they did not have to shoulder the full amount themselves. But BP had its best ever year as a result. Profit doubled to around $2bn (£23.4bn).
Jonathan Noronha-Gant, senior fossil fuels campaigner at Global Witness, said: “People everywhere struggling to feed their families or warm their homes in the harsh winter months, have every right to be angry that the CEO of a huge energy firm is netting millions of pounds in pay. This enormous pay package is
a kick in the teeth to all hardworking people being faced with a cost of living crisis.
“Nothing could be a starker example of the gross inequality that sits at the very heart of our broken energy system. For a rich few to be seeing their already extraordinary wealth bolstered, precisely because bills have been so unaffordable for the majority, is a twisted irony. At the very least the governments should be implementing a proper windfall tax on both profits and CEO pay.”
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