BP profits surge by 71% on higher oil prices

02 May, 2018, 02:01 | Author: Billie Castillo
  • BP profits race 71pc higher as oil prices rebound

BP says first-quarter earnings surged 70 percent as the energy company profited from rising oil prices and increased production.

Rising oil prices helped BP grow profits by 71 per cent in the first three months of 2018.

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 3.2 billion United States dollars (£2.3 billion).

Bob Dudley added: "Moving through 2018 we're determined to keep delivering our operational targets and maintaining capital discipline while growing cash flow and returns".

Our safe and reliable operations and strong financial delivery have continued into 2018.

"Overall it was a very healthy set of results", said Martijn Rats, analyst at Morgan Stanley, which has a "neutral" recommendation on BP stock.

That compared with a profit of $1.5 billion a year earlier and $2.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2017.

The company's natural oil and gas exploration unit Upstream enjoyed its strongest first quarter since the third quarter of 2014 on both a replacement cost and underlying basis.

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Operating cash flow excluding amounts relating to the Gulf of Mexico spill was $5.4 billion which was impacted by a $1.8 billion increase in working capital.

Shares rose by more than 1 per cent in early trading.

First-quarter results in the sector have been a mixed bag, with Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil falling short of forecasts, while results from Chevron and Total were stronger than expected.

Dividend unchanged at 10 cents per share.

The spill payment in the first quarter was "US$500 million more than I expected", although that probably means that the burden will be lower later this year, said Redburn analyst Rob West. "Cash flow was good but messy, with less cash tax paid than expected".

Chief financial officer Brian Gilvary cautioned that the performance was energised only partly by the oil price recovery.

The further hit from the spill in the first quarter sent the firm's debt levels rising to 40 billion United States dollars (£29 billion) from 38.6 billion U.S. dollars (£28.2 billion) a year ago.

This included 1.2 billion USA dollars (£873 million) for the final payment of its 2012 settlement with the Department of Justice. Payments are expected to be just over $3 billion in 2018, weighted to the first half of the year.

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