BP CEO pay doubles to $12M as energy profits surge

Total pay for BP's CEO more than doubled to $12 million last year, the energy giant said Friday, as soaring energy costs allowed oil and gas companies to rake in record profits while squeezing households and small businesses.

London-based BP's disclosure came a day after rival Shell reported a similar multimillion-dollar pay package for its top executive on the heels of both companies posting their highest-ever annual earnings last month.

BP said in its annual report that CEO Bernard Looney was paid a total of 10 million pounds ($12 million) in 2022, up from 4.5 million pounds the previous year. Looney's pay package includes a cash bonus of 2.4 million pounds and 6 million pounds in bonus company stock.

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BP reported in February that its profit doubled to $28 billion as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent oil and gas prices soaring.

Fat profits at fossil fuel giants and big salaries for top executives have spurred demands for the companies to do more to shield consumers from high energy costs that have fueled decades-high inflation and ratcheted up utility bills.

Activist groups such as Global Witness and some opposition lawmakers in Britain have called for expanding taxes on the windfall profits of energy companies and taxing bonuses.

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It's a "twisted irony" that a wealthy minority got even richer "precisely because bills have been so unaffordable for the majority," said Jonathan Noronha-Gant, a senior campaigner at Global Witness.

Britain's Liberal Democrat party on Thursday called for a one-off "bonanza bonus" tax for energy company executives after Shell reported that then-CEO Ben van Beurden's pay package jumped by half in 2022, to nearly $12 million, thanks to a record $40 billion annual profit.

The proposed tax is similar to a levy on bankers' bonuses that the U.K. government imposed in 2009-10 amid the fallout of the global financial crisis.

"It is outrageous that oil and gas bosses are raking in millions in bonuses while families struggle to heat their homes," party leader Ed Davey said. "Whether it is executive bonuses or soaring profits, the money being made out of Putin’s illegal war should be helping struggling families not oil and gas barons."

The BP committee that sets executive pay said it has "carefully sought to moderate outcomes" and its decisions "reflect a sensible approach."