March 11, 2016 / 12:11 PM / a year ago

BP cancels near 30-year sponsorship of Tate Britain

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The circular balcony, closed since the 1920s, and new spiral staircase, are seen at Tate Britain in central London November 18, 2013.Olivia Harris

LONDON (Reuters) - British oil major BP will not renew its near 30-year sponsorship of Tate Britain art gallery, it said on Friday, weeks after posting its worst-ever annual loss that has forced it to cut spending.

"We are facing an extremely challenging business environment and are reducing spending," a spokeswoman said.

"As a result we have reluctantly decided not to renew our long-term partnership with Tate Britain."

It did not give a sponsorship figure.

The oil major has been hit hard by a slump in oil prices and said it would have to make savings of $7 billion (£4.9 billion) by 2017.

BP has sponsored various exhibitions at the British art gallery, including the BP Spotlights series which recently displayed Tracey Emin's My Bed 1998 installation which won the 1999 Turner Prize.

Protests have taken place at the gallery over its partnership with BP, including a recent partial occupation by climate change activists.

BP said its decision not to renew the partnership, which expires in February 2017, was unrelated to protests.

Reporting by Karolin Schaps; editing by Susan Thomas

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