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BP On Track To Meet Net Debt Target Ahead of Schedule

BP is on track to reach its net debt goal reduction to $35 billion ahead of schedule, the company said in a statement.

According to the statement, the UK-based supermajor expects to have reached this level of net debt by the end of March.

"We are pleased to announce that we now expect to have reached our $35 billion net debt target during the first quarter 2021," chief executive Bernard Looney said.

"This is a result of earlier than anticipated delivery of disposal proceeds combined with very strong business performance during the first quarter. We look forward to updating the market at our first-quarter results, including further information on share buybacks."

During the first quarter of the year, BP received some $4.7 billion in proceeds from various asset divestment deals, including $2.4 billion from the sale of a 20-percent stake in an Omani natural gas field. The supermajor will remain the operator of Block 61 with a 40-percent stake.

Other divestment deals during the quarter included the sale of BP's petrochemicals business to Ineos, for which it last quarter received a final payment of $1 billion as well as the sale of a 49-percent stake in an oil product and logistics affiliate in the United States, which generated $700 million in proceeds.

Finally, BP sold a stake in Palantir for $400 million during the first quarter, noting that this was a significant return on its original investment in the company.

BP said it expected total divestment proceeds for the year to be in the upper part of the range between $4 and $6 billion that it had set itself for the year. The total amount the company set out to generate from divestments between 2020 and 2025 stands at $35 billion. So far, it has generated $10 billion in proceeds from such deals.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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