British oil giant BP announced on Friday that it will repurchase $8 billion in shares.
The move comes after the company said that it had finalized the sale of its 50% stake in TNK-BP, its Russian joint venture. The share buyback will take up to 18 months to complete, the Associated Press notes.
Last year, BP agreed to sell its stake in TNK to Russia’s state-owned oil firm Rosneft in exchange for cash and shares. BP’s stake in the Russian oil giant has grown to 19.75%.
Company officials said that the share repurchase program was a way to return profits from the TNK sales to BP shareholders. They noted that the current authorization represented about six years worth of projected dividends from TNK.
The company said it would use $4.48 billion in cash from the sale of its TNK share to pay down its debt.
Shares of BP rose more than 2% in Friday morning trading.