Oil and Gas

BP expects to hit $35 billion net debt target in first quarter

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A BP company logo is displayed on a fuel pump on the forecourt of a gas station operated by BP Plc in London, U.K.
Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images

BP expects to reach its $35 billion net debt target in the first quarter of 2021, the energy group said on Tuesday, following earlier-than-expected proceeds from disposals and a "very strong" quarter.

The company, which had a debt pile of $39 billion at the end of 2020, had earlier expected to reduce its debt to $35 billion around the fourth quarter of 2021 or first quarter of 2022.

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

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

The oil major plunged to a $5.7 billion loss last year, its first in a decade, as the COVID-19 pandemic took a heavy toll on oil demand and in February warned of a tough start to 2021 amid widespread travel restrictions.