BP chief executive Bernard Looney has said the oil giant will reinvest all the profits it makes in the North Sea into Britain as he opposed calls for the Government to impose a windfall tax on firms.

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has come under intense pressure to impose a windall tax after a series of firms posted huge increases in profits following surges in oil and gas prices. These have left consumers facing steep increases in energy bills.

BP’s first quarter profits rose to a 14-year high of $6.2 billion (£5bn) from $2.63bn.

READ MORE: Windfall tax calls intensify as oil giants enjoy North Sea bonanza

However, Mr Looney told the company’s general meeting today: “People ask, what are we doing with the profits we make in the North Sea? The short answer is we’re reinvesting all of them. This decade – with our current plans – we expect to reinvest every £1 we make – and hopefully more.”

HeraldScotland: BP chief executive Bernard LooneyBP chief executive Bernard Looney

Mr Looney said the company expects to invest around £18 billion in Britain over the next decade with the spending to focus on improving energy security and accelerating the energy transition.

He added: “A stable and competitive fiscal environment is an important element in any investment decision. – and that is what we have in Britain today. By definition, windfall taxes are unpredictable – and so would challenge investment in home-grown energy.”

READ MORE: North Sea heavyweight posts 150% increase in UK profits amid gas price surge

However, insisting that BP is backing Britain amid difficult times, Mr Looney said the company’s plans were not contingent on whether or not there was a windfall tax.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak resisted calls for a windfall tax when he made his Spring Statement in March on the grounds such a levy might deter investment in the North Sea. He has signalled he will think again if oil and gas firms do not make the investment expected. 
Oil and gas prices have risen sharply since early last year amid the recovery from the pandemic and the fallout from the war in Ukraine. The cap on the annual energy bills of 22 million consumers rose by £693 from April, to £1,971. It is expected to increase to around £2,800 in October.