BP first-quarter profit up 71% as production and oil price rise

02 May, 2018, 02:11 | Author: Corey Lynch
  • BP plc share price

Stripping out one-off costs, underlying profits rose to $2.6 billion, up 71 per cent from $1.5 billion in the same period a year earlier and significantly ahead of market expectations of $2.2 billion.

"Our safe and reliable operations and strong financial delivery have continued into 2018", BP chief executive Bob Dudley said.

The oil giant reported profits of $2.6bn (£1.9bn) for the first quarter, up from $1.5bn in the same period past year, which "primarily reflects higher oil prices and a favourable foreign exchange impact".

The stock has been recovering after crashing in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon blast eight years ago, which killed 11 workers and sparked the biggest oil spill in U.S. history.

United Kingdom supermajor BP posted a rise in profits during the first three months of 2018 as the upstream segment posted its strongest quarter since 2014.

In late morning trading, BP shares in London were 0.8% higher at 542.4p. The company's gearing, the ratio of net debt to equity, was 28 per cent, an increase from 27 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2017, BP said. Part of that effort has been a plan to return its oil-and-gas production to 4 million barrels a day, while boosting profits and cash flow.

Rival oil major Royal Dutch Shell last week reported a 42% rise in underlying quarterly profits to $5.3bn (£3.8bn). Worldwide crude is now trading near $75 a barrel.

"The spill payment in the first quarter was "$500 million more than I expected", although that probably means the burden will be lower later this year, said Redburn analyst Rob West, as quoted by Bloomberg. With rising output from our new major projects and excellent reliability, Upstream production was 9 per cent higher than a year earlier.

During the quarter, BP completed another 200 million USA dollars (£146 million) worth of divestments as it continues to sell off assets, and kept its guidance for between 2 billion United States dollars (£1.5 billion) and 3 billion U.S. dollars (£2.2 billion) over the full year. In total, payments are expected to total just over $3 billion in 2018.

Chief Financial Officer Brian Gilvary said the London-listed company might consider raising the dividend later this year if oil prices remain near current levels and debt declines.

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



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