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BP's reduction in its oil and gas price assumptions - could this set off a chain reaction that puts us on a path to Paris?

BP has today announced that it will lower the long-term oil and gas price assumptions used in its financial statements by roughly 20% and 28% respectively, resulting in estimated impairments of between $13 and $17.5bn. This is equivalent to 13% to 17% of 2019 net assets. This move – which follows an engagement Sarasin & Partners has led with BP’s Audit Committee and lead audit partner – is hugely important, not just to BP shareholders, but to the world as it seeks to deliver on its commitment to the Paris Agreement. This is because until we get Paris-aligned numbers, promises to align business strategies and capital expenditure with a goal of keeping temperature increases well below 2⁰C will be questionable.

Take a simple example. If oil and gas companies are using $70/bbl for valuing their oil assets on their balance sheet, clearly these assets will be more valuable than if they use $50/bbl. This impacts not just plants, property and equipment, but also exploration assets, goodwill, joint venture valuations, and even deferred tax assets. In other words, almost the entire balance sheet embeds this assumption in some form. It also impacts how soon liabilities, such as asset retirement obligations need to be paid. The lower the price, the sooner these liabilities will be incurred as operations are wound down earlier, and the bigger the liability in present value terms.

Taken together over-stated oil and gas prices therefore underpin reported capital and performance, and thus what money is available to reinvest. The numbers also tell executives whether it is profitable to put more money into fossil fuels. The lower the expected price, the less new capital will go towards oil and gas. Paris-aligned accounts, thus, give Paris alignment promises teeth.

BP should be commended for showing leadership; other fossil fuel dependent companies need to sit up and take note. Based on our detailed analysis of major European fossil fuel companies’ financial statements released this spring, it is clear that almost none have aligned their critical accounting assumptions with the Paris Agreement. The level of BP’s impairments demonstrates the materiality of this risk hidden in companies’ balance sheets.

The question company directors and their shareholders now need urgently answered is where else might company positions be overstated? And this question is not only pertinent to oil and gas companies, but any company that depends on fossil fuels to deliver future profits.

Note:

Sarasin & Partners has been at the forefront of calling for Paris-aligned accounts and audit since 2018. We released a paper “Are oil and gas companies overstating their positions?” in 2018, and worked with the Institutional Investor Group on Climate Change to publish a discussion paper on the topic later that year.

In 2019, Sarasin brought together roughly 30 institutional investors to write to the Big Four audit firms (PWC, KPMG, EY and Deloitte) to set out investor expectation for Paris-aligned audits. Letters followed to audit committees as specific companies, including BP, Shell and Total in November 2019. A broader effort is currently being rolled out to a range of fossil fuel exposed companies.

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This website should not be regarded as an offer or solicitation to conduct investment business in any jurisdiction other than South Africa.

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The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a professional adviser.

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It is not for distribution outside Ireland and should not be relied upon by retail investors.

If you do not meet the above criteria, you must leave this site immediately and you accept Sarasin will not be liable in any way whatsoever for your use of this website or the information contained within if you choose to proceed.

What you should know about the site’s content

This website should not be regarded as an offer or solicitation to conduct investment business in any jurisdiction other than Ireland. The information on this website is provided on the condition that it will not form the basis for any investment decision by the recipient or clients that the recipient may be representing or acting for.

The information on this website has been obtained from sources that Sarasin believe to be reliable and accurate at the date of publication, but no warranty of accuracy is given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of information contained within sites provided by third parties, which may have links to or from our pages. Any opinions expressed are our judgement at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. By proceeding you agree to the exclusion by Sarasin of any liability in respect of any errors or omissions by Sarasin and any other relevant third parties.

The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a professional adviser.

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The contents of this website have been approved for issue in the UK by Sarasin & Partners LLP (‘Sarasin’), which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Under no circumstances should this information or any part of it be copied, reproduced or redistributed.

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If you are acting as a financial adviser or intermediary, you agree to access this website only for the purposes for which you are permitted to do so under applicable law.

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The information on this website has been obtained from sources that Sarasin believe to be reliable and accurate at the date of publication, but no warranty of accuracy is given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of information contained within sites provided by third parties, which may have links to or from our pages. Any opinions expressed are our judgement at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. By proceeding you agree to the exclusion by Sarasin of any liability in respect of any errors or omissions by Sarasin and any other relevant third parties.

The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a professional adviser.

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It is important that you read this information before proceeding, as it explains certain legal and regulatory restrictions applicable to the use of this website.

By clicking the ‘Accept’ button you acknowledge that the information below has been brought to your attention.

The contents of this website have been approved for issue in the UK by Sarasin & Partners LLP (‘Sarasin’), which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Under no circumstances should this information or any part of it be copied, reproduced or redistributed.

Who can use this site

This website and the information contained within is for UK residents only and not for distribution outside the UK. If you are not a UK resident, you must leave this site immediately and accept Sarasin will not be liable in any way whatsoever for your use of this website or the information contained within if you choose to proceed.

What you should know about the site’s content

This website should not be regarded as an offer or solicitation to conduct investment business in any jurisdiction other than the UK. The information on this website is provided on the condition that it will not form the basis for any investment decision by the recipient or clients that the recipient may be representing or acting for.

The information on this website has been obtained from sources that Sarasin believe to be reliable and accurate at the date of publication, but no warranty of accuracy is given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of information contained within sites provided by third parties, which may have links to or from our pages. Any opinions expressed are our judgement at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. By proceeding you agree to the exclusion by Sarasin of any liability in respect of any errors or omissions by Sarasin and any other relevant third parties.

The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a professional adviser.

Cookies and other policies

This website uses cookies. A cookie is a small file of letters and numbers that we put on your electronic device which is essential for the website to function properly and which help to provide you with a better online experience. These cookies cannot be switched off and do not store any of your information. We also use non-essential cookies which you can consent to or reject via the cookie consent tool on our website. By continuing to access this website, you agree to these warnings and important information.

Please make sure you have also read our Legal Information, Important Information and Privacy Policies which apply to your use of this website. To access these, please click on the links at the footer of the home page.

It is important that you read this information before proceeding, as it explains certain legal and regulatory restrictions applicable to the use of this website.

By clicking the ‘Accept’ button you acknowledge that the information below has been brought to your attention.

The contents of this website have been approved for issue in the UK by Sarasin & Partners LLP (‘Sarasin’), which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Under no circumstances should this information or any part of it be copied, reproduced or redistributed.

Who can use this site

This website and the information contained within is for UK resident charities only and not for distribution outside the UK. If you are not a UK resident charity, you must leave this site immediately and accept Sarasin will not be liable in any way whatsoever for your use of this website or the information contained within if you choose to proceed.

What you should know about the site’s content

This website should not be regarded as an offer or solicitation to conduct investment business in any jurisdiction other than the UK. The information on this website is provided on the condition that it will not form the basis for any investment decision by the recipient or clients that the recipient may be representing or acting for.

The information on this website has been obtained from sources that Sarasin believe to be reliable and accurate at the date of publication, but no warranty of accuracy is given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of information contained within sites provided by third parties, which may have links to or from our pages. Any opinions expressed are our judgement at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. By proceeding you agree to the exclusion by Sarasin of any liability in respect of any errors or omissions by Sarasin and any other relevant third parties.

The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a professional adviser.

Cookies and other policies

This website uses cookies. A cookie is a small file of letters and numbers that we put on your electronic device which is essential for the website to function properly and which help to provide you with a better online experience. These cookies cannot be switched off and do not store any of your information. We also use non-essential cookies which you can consent to or reject via the cookie consent tool on our website. By continuing to access this website, you agree to these warnings and important information.

Please make sure you have also read our Legal Information, Important Information and Privacy Policies which apply to your use of this website. To access these, please click on the links at the footer of the home page.

It is important that you read this information before proceeding, as it explains certain legal and regulatory restrictions applicable to the use of this website.

By clicking the ‘Accept’ button you acknowledge that the information below has been brought to your attention.

The contents of this website have been approved for issue in the UK by Sarasin & Partners LLP (‘Sarasin’), which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Under no circumstances should this information or any part of it be copied, reproduced or redistributed.

Who can use this site

This information on this website is only for UK residents who are:

professional investors;

our product distributor partners; or

regulated professional intermediaries.

It is not for distribution outside the UK and should not be relied upon by retail investors.

If you do not meet the above criteria, you must leave this site immediately and you accept Sarasin will not be liable in any way whatsoever for your use of this website or the information contained within if you choose to proceed.

What you should know about the site’s content

This website should not be regarded as an offer or solicitation to conduct investment business in any jurisdiction other than the UK. The information on this website is provided on the condition that it will not form the basis for any investment decision by the recipient or clients that the recipient may be representing or acting for.

The information on this website has been obtained from sources that Sarasin believe to be reliable and accurate at the date of publication, but no warranty of accuracy is given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of information contained within sites provided by third parties, which may have links to or from our pages. Any opinions expressed are our judgement at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. By proceeding you agree to the exclusion by Sarasin of any liability in respect of any errors or omissions by Sarasin and any other relevant third parties.

The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a professional adviser.

Cookies and other policies

This website uses cookies. A cookie is a small file of letters and numbers that we put on your electronic device which is essential for the website to function properly and which help to provide you with a better online experience. These cookies cannot be switched off and do not store any of your information. We also use non-essential cookies which you can consent to or reject via the cookie consent tool on our website. By continuing to access this website, you agree to these warnings and important information.

Please make sure you have also read our Legal Information, Important Information and Privacy Policies which apply to your use of this website. To access these, please click on the links at the footer of the home page.

It is important that you read this information before proceeding, as it explains certain legal and regulatory restrictions applicable to the use of this website.

By clicking the ‘Accept’ button you acknowledge that the information below has been brought to your attention.

The contents of this website have been approved for issue in the UK by Sarasin & Partners LLP (‘Sarasin’), which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Under no circumstances should this information or any part of it be copied, reproduced or redistributed.

Who can use this site

This information on this website is only for UK residents who are:

professional investors;

our product distributor partners; or

regulated professional intermediaries.

It is not for distribution outside the UK and should not be relied upon by retail investors.

If you do not meet the above criteria, you must leave this site immediately and you accept Sarasin will not be liable in any way whatsoever for your use of this website or the information contained within if you choose to proceed.

What you should know about the site’s content

This website should not be regarded as an offer or solicitation to conduct investment business in any jurisdiction other than the UK. The information on this website is provided on the condition that it will not form the basis for any investment decision by the recipient or clients that the recipient may be representing or acting for.

The information on this website has been obtained from sources that Sarasin believe to be reliable and accurate at the date of publication, but no warranty of accuracy is given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of information contained within sites provided by third parties, which may have links to or from our pages. Any opinions expressed are our judgement at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. By proceeding you agree to the exclusion by Sarasin of any liability in respect of any errors or omissions by Sarasin and any other relevant third parties.

The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a professional adviser.

Cookies and other policies

This website uses cookies. A cookie is a small file of letters and numbers that we put on your electronic device which is essential for the website to function properly and which help to provide you with a better online experience. These cookies cannot be switched off and do not store any of your information. We also use non-essential cookies which you can consent to or reject via the cookie consent tool on our website. By continuing to access this website, you agree to these warnings and important information.

Please make sure you have also read our Legal Information, Important Information and Privacy Policies which apply to your use of this website. To access these, please click on the links at the footer of the home page.

It is important that you read this information before proceeding, as it explains certain legal and regulatory restrictions applicable to the use of this website.

By clicking the ‘Accept’ button you acknowledge that the information below has been brought to your attention.

The contents of this website have been approved for issue to US persons by Sarasin & Partners LLP (‘Sarasin’), which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Under no circumstances should this information or any part of it be copied, reproduced or redistributed.

Who can use this site

This website and the information contained within is for US persons only and not for distribution to non-US persons. If you are not a US person, you must leave this site immediately and accept Sarasin will not be liable in any way whatsoever for your use of this website or the information contained within if you choose to proceed

What you should know about the site’s content

This website should not be regarded as an offer or solicitation to conduct investment business in any jurisdiction other than US persons. The information on this website is provided on the condition that it will not form the basis for any investment decision by the recipient or clients that the recipient may be representing or acting for.

The information on this website has been obtained from sources that Sarasin believe to be reliable and accurate at the date of publication, but no warranty of accuracy is given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of information contained within sites provided by third parties, which may have links to or from our pages. Any opinions expressed are our judgement at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. By proceeding you agree to the exclusion by Sarasin of any liability in respect of any errors or omissions by Sarasin and any other relevant third parties.

The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a professional adviser.

Cookies and other policies

This website uses cookies. A cookie is a small file of letters and numbers that we put on your electronic device which is essential for the website to function properly and which help to provide you with a better online experience. These cookies cannot be switched off and do not store any of your information. We also use non-essential cookies which you can consent to or reject via the cookie consent tool on our website. By continuing to access this website, you agree to these warnings and important information.

Please make sure you have also read our Legal Information, Important Information and Privacy Policies which apply to your use of this website. To access these, please click on the links at the footer of the home page.

It is important that you read this information before proceeding, as it explains certain legal and regulatory restrictions applicable to the use of this website.

By clicking the ‘Accept’ button you acknowledge that the information below has been brought to your attention.

The contents of this website have been approved for issue to US persons by Sarasin & Partners LLP (‘Sarasin’), which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Under no circumstances should this information or any part of it be copied, reproduced or redistributed.

Who can use this site

This information on this website is only for US persons who are:

professional investors;

our product distributor partners; or

regulated professional intermediaries.

It is not for distribution to non-US persons and should not be relied upon by retail investors.

If you do not meet the above criteria, you must leave this site immediately and you accept Sarasin will not be liable in any way whatsoever for your use of this website or the information contained within if you choose to proceed.

What you should know about the site’s content

This website should not be regarded as an offer or solicitation to conduct investment business in any jurisdiction other than US persons. The information on this website is provided on the condition that it will not form the basis for any investment decision by the recipient or clients that the recipient may be representing or acting for.

The information on this website has been obtained from sources that Sarasin believe to be reliable and accurate at the date of publication, but no warranty of accuracy is given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of information contained within sites provided by third parties, which may have links to or from our pages. Any opinions expressed are our judgement at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. By proceeding you agree to the exclusion by Sarasin of any liability in respect of any errors or omissions by Sarasin and any other relevant third parties.

The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a professional adviser.

Cookies and other policies

This website uses cookies. A cookie is a small file of letters and numbers that we put on your electronic device which is essential for the website to function properly and which help to provide you with a better online experience. These cookies cannot be switched off and do not store any of your information. We also use non-essential cookies which you can consent to or reject via the cookie consent tool on our website. By continuing to access this website, you agree to these warnings and important information.

Please make sure you have also read our Legal Information, Important Information and Privacy Policies which apply to your use of this website. To access these, please click on the links at the footer of the home page.

It is important that you read this information before proceeding, as it explains certain legal and regulatory restrictions applicable to the use of this website.

By clicking the ‘Accept’ button you acknowledge that the information below has been brought to your attention.

The contents of this website have been approved for issue in South Africa by Sarasin & Partners LLP (‘Sarasin’), which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Under no circumstances should this information or any part of it be copied, reproduced or redistributed.

Who can use this site

This website and the information contained within is for South African residents only and not for distribution outside the South Africa. If you are not a South African resident, you must leave this site immediately and accept Sarasin will not be liable in any way whatsoever for your use of this website or the information contained within if you choose to proceed

It is not for distribution outside South Africa and should not be relied upon by retail investors.

If you do not meet the above criteria, you must leave this site immediately and you accept Sarasin will not be liable in any way whatsoever for your use of this website or the information contained within if you choose to proceed.

What you should know about the site’s content

This website should not be regarded as an offer or solicitation to conduct investment business in any jurisdiction other than South Africa. The information on this website is provided on the condition that it will not form the basis for any investment decision by the recipient or clients that the recipient may be representing or acting for.

The information on this website has been obtained from sources that Sarasin believe to be reliable and accurate at the date of publication, but no warranty of accuracy is given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of information contained within sites provided by third parties, which may have links to or from our pages. Any opinions expressed are our judgement at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. By proceeding you agree to the exclusion by Sarasin of any liability in respect of any errors or omissions by Sarasin and any other relevant third parties.

The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a professional adviser.

Cookies and other policies

This website uses cookies. A cookie is a small file of letters and numbers that we put on your electronic device which is essential for the website to function properly and which help to provide you with a better online experience. These cookies cannot be switched off and do not store any of your information. We also use non-essential cookies which you can consent to or reject via the cookie consent tool on our website. By continuing to access this website, you agree to these warnings and important information.

Please make sure you have also read our Legal Information, Important Information and Privacy Policies which apply to your use of this website. To access these, please click on the links at the footer of the home page.

It is important that you read this information before proceeding, as it explains certain legal and regulatory restrictions applicable to the use of this website.

By clicking the ‘Accept’ button you acknowledge that the information below has been brought to your attention.

The contents of this website have been approved for issue in South Africa by Sarasin & Partners LLP (‘Sarasin’), which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Under no circumstances should this information or any part of it be copied, reproduced or redistributed.

Who can use this site

This information on this website is only for South Africa residents who are:

professional investors;

our product distributor partners; or

regulated professional intermediaries.

It is not for distribution outside South Africa and should not be relied upon by retail investors.

If you do not meet the above criteria, you must leave this site immediately and you accept Sarasin will not be liable in any way whatsoever for your use of this website or the information contained within if you choose to proceed.

What you should know about the site’s content

This website should not be regarded as an offer or solicitation to conduct investment business in any jurisdiction other than South Africa.

The information on this website has been obtained from sources that Sarasin believe to be reliable and accurate at the date of publication, but no warranty of accuracy is given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of information contained within sites provided by third parties, which may have links to or from our pages. Any opinions expressed are our judgement at the time of writing and are subject to change without notice. By proceeding you agree to the exclusion by Sarasin of any liability in respect of any errors or omissions by Sarasin and any other relevant third parties.

The information on this website does not in any way constitute investment, tax, legal or any other form of advice or recommendation that a product or investment is suitable for you or your circumstances. If you are unsure as to whether the investments described in this site are suitable for you should seek professional advice from a professional adviser.

Cookies and other policies

This website uses cookies. A cookie is a small file of letters and numbers that we put on your electronic device which is essential for the website to function properly and which help to provide you with a better online experience. These cookies cannot be switched off and do not store any of your information. We also use non-essential cookies which you can consent to or reject via the cookie consent tool on our website. By continuing to access this website, you agree to these warnings and important information.

Please make sure you have also read our Legal Information, Important Information and Privacy Policies which apply to your use of this website. To access these, please click on the links at the footer of the home page.

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