London, UK | – British multinational oil major BP said on Friday its chief executive Bob Dudley’s total remuneration rose by 20 per cent in 2015, despite the firm delivering one of the lowest profits in its history.
Chief Executive Bob Dudley’s total pay rose 20 percent to nearly 14.1 million pounds ($20 million) in 2015, a year when the oil major settled most of its U.S. oil spill litigations but also posted a large loss as crude prices plummeted.
BP has slashed thousands of jobs and sharply cut investments over the past year in the face of the market downturn, while reaching a landmark $20 billion settlement to resolve most claims from its deadly 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Dudley’s pay has become a regular point of tension during the firm’s annual shareholder meetings, with some investors questioning the size of the package during tough times.
The next meeting is scheduled for April.
Last month BP reported a $6.5 billion loss for 2015 and its fourth-quarter underlying replacement cost profit, its definition of net income, came in at $196 million, well below analyst expectations of $730 million.
BP has repeatedly argued it needs to remain competitive and its remuneration is lower than of most U.S. companies.
In its annual report on Friday, BP said executive directors received no increase in base salary in 2015 and that senior leadership would not see salary increases this year either.
As such, Dudley’s 2015 pay was little changed at $13.1 million. Including pension, however, his total remuneration rose to $19.6 million from $16.4 million a year earlier.
Dudley’s remuneration has for a number of years been restated to include the value of BP’s contribution to his U.S. retirement savings, BP said.
Ann Dowling, chair of BP’s remuneration committee, said the company delivered strong operating and safety performances throughout 2015.
“The oil price is outside BP’s control, but executives performed strongly in managing the things they could control and for which they are accountable. BP surpassed expectations on most measures and directors’ remuneration reflects this,” Dowling said in the report.
BP said that while industry costs had come down sharply following the near 70 percent decline in oil prices over the past 20 months, “this will be a tough period of intense change for the industry as it adapts to this new reality.”
Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg said in the current low oil price environment BP aimed to rebalance sources and uses of cash to ensure it covered capital expenditure and shareholder distributions with operating cash flow.
“We anticipate that all the actions we are taking will capture more deflation and drive the point of rebalance to below $60 per barrel,” he said.
BP has said it expects oil prices to remain low in the near term.