Saturday 21 September 2019

BP profits race 71pc higher as oil prices rebound

Nick Ansell/PA Wire
Nick Ansell/PA Wire

Holly Williams

BP has reported its best quarterly result for three years after notching up a 71pc surge in profits thanks to surging oil prices.

The oil giant said underlying replacement cost profits jumped to $2.6bn for the first three months of 2018, up from $1.5bn a year earlier.

On a bottom-line basis, profits rose 70pc to $2.4bn.

BP said its upstream operations - which cover exploration and production - enjoyed the best quarter since the third quarter of 2014, with underlying profits more than doubling to $3.2bn.

The company's production rose 6pc in the first quarter compared with a year ago.

But the group continued to count the cost of its 2010 Deepwater Horizon tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico, with another $1.6bn forked out in the first quarter.

This included $1.2bn for the final payment of its 2012 settlement with the Department of Justice.

During the quarter, BP completed another $200m worth of divestments as it continues to sell off assets, and kept its guidance for between $2bn and $3bn over the full year.

Bob Dudley, group chief executive at BP, praised "another strong set of results".

He added: "Our safe and reliable operations and strong financial delivery have continued into 2018.

"Underlying profit was up 23pc on the previous quarter and was our best quarterly result in three years."

The sector has been buoyed by rising oil prices, which hit nearly $76 a barrel on Monday.

Rival oil major Royal Dutch Shell last week reported a 42pc rise in underlying quarterly profits to $5.3bn.

BP's figures come after it last week named energy industry veteran Helge Lund as its next chairman, succeeding Carl-Henric Svanberg.

Mr Lund - who has previously headed BG Group and was a longstanding chief executive at Statoil - will join BP's board as chairman-designate and a

non-executive director on September 1 before taking on the role of chairman on January 1 next year.

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