• Company has no plans to exit other U.K. art sponsorships
  • BP is reducing spending after slump in crude oil prices

BP Plc will end an almost 30-year partnership with Tate Britain, a U.K. art gallery, from 2017. 

“We are facing an extremely challenging business environment and are reducing spending and taking many difficult decisions throughout BP,” the London-based oil company said in a statement Friday. “As a result we have reluctantly decided not to renew our long-term partnership with Tate Britain.” 

The company announced a 10 million pound ($14 million) five-year sponsorship of Tate Britain, the British Museum, the National Portrait Gallery and the Royal Opera House in 2011. The partnership with Tate was scheduled for renewal in February next year. BP also has a sponsorship with the Royal Shakespeare Company. There are no plans to exit its other arts partnerships, the company said.

Environmental groups have sometimes used these art institutions and museums as venues to protest BP’s oil business, including at the Tate Britain. There has been “escalating public pressure led by Liberate Tate and other groups, who have been calling for an end to oil sponsorship on ethical grounds since the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010,” Greenpeace said in a statement.

Crude oil’s slump by more than 60 percent since mid-2014 has hit earnings of companies around the world, forcing them to cut billions of dollars of spending, defer projects and eliminate thousands of jobs. BP, Europe’s third-biggest oil company, reported adjusted net income of $5.9 billion in 2015, less than half its profit a year earlier.

“The BP/Tate partnership has been an outstanding example of patronage and collaboration over nearly 30 years,” Tate said in a statement. “It represents one of the most significant long-term corporate investments in U.K. arts and culture.”

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