Thursday 14 December 2017

BP blame 'challenging' oil prices for $999m losses but remain 'well prepared' for oil price volatility

BP said oil prices remained
BP said oil prices remained "challenging" in 2016 Photo: PA Business Desk Business Desk

Oil giant BP has reported losses of $999m in 2016 but maintained the bounce back of crude end gave the firm a year-end boost.

In the fourth quarter, BP's profits of $72m against losses of $2.2bn a year earlier let the group claw its way out of the red.

Annual losses then improved from the huge $5.2bn billion loss posted in 2015, the worst result for BP for at least two decades.

BP said oil prices remained "challenging" in 2016, with the average for Brent crude standing at the lowest in over a decade - at $44.

Recent higher oil prices, which have recovered above $50 a barrel, helped underlying replacement cost profits.

This meant the figure more than doubled to $400m in the fourth quarter from $196m a year earlier.

Bob Dudley, BP group chief executive, said: "We have delivered solid results in tough conditions - and are well prepared for any volatility in oil pricing."

Meanwhile, European shares rose on Tuesday pushing the benchmark STOXX 600 back slightly into positive territory for the year.

Some encouraging company updates and gains in healthcare stocks were also announced helping to counter weakness in oil majors and eurozone banks.

Chipmaker AMS rose 13.6pc, poised for its best-ever day following results while food-processing machinery maker GEA was up 5.5pc after a setting a brighter outlook for its profits.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.2pc with bluechip healthcare stocks, industrials and mining stocks underpinning gains.

Chipmaker AMS shares surged more than 16pc and were on track for their best day in nearly 13 years after the company's fourth-quarter revenue came in at the top end of the chipmaker's expectations.

Among sector movers, the European mining index rose 0.9pc, the best performer in STOXX 600 index, helped by a rise in base and precious metals miners.

On the flipside, shares of BP fell 2.5pc, the biggest drags on the STOXX 600 after the company missed estimates. Peer Statoil also fell after a disappointing set of results.

French banks, among the best performers across European financials in 2016, fell after BNP Paribas reported results below forecasts.

Additional reporting from Reuters


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