Friday 6 December 2019

BP profits down on gulf disaster

Tom Bergin

BP reported a bigger-than-expected profit drop on the back of a fall in production prompted by the need to sell oilfields to pay for the Gulf of Mexico disaster, raising concerns about the oil group's turnaround plan.

Europe's second-largest oil company by market value said yesterday that output would continue to decline in the second quarter, helping to send its shares down 3.6pc in early trading against a 0.2pc drop in the STOXX Europe 600 Oil and Gas index.

The shares are down 8.9pc so far this year, against a 1.8pc average drop among its industry peers.

Analysts at Citigroup said they had doubts about BP's ability to increase output, keep a lid on costs and maintain its interest in key assets where it has had disputes with partners.

The financial headwinds also mean BP will struggle to raise its dividend to the level it was at before the spill, when it was slashed, analysts at brokerage Bernstein said in a note.

BP unveiled plans to sell a number of mature fields in the Gulf, but a spokesman denied the company was making a more general pullback from the region. (Reuters)

Irish Independent

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