The oil firm’s tumbling share price shows investors need more than a loose assertion of confidence

Here’s a sight that hasn’t been seen since 1994: shares in BP priced at less than 200p. The stock, 480p at the start of this year before the Covid recession hammered the oil price, closed on Wednesday at 199.96p.

Even as recently as August, a sub-£2 moment seemed unlikely. That was when the new-ish chief executive, Bernard Looney, pitched to investors his plan to make BP a net zero carbon company by 2050. The rejig seemed to go down well. Despite the inevitable cut in the dividend, BP’s shares were briefly steady at 300p. There was talk about the company acting just in time to save itself from oblivion.

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