BP rebounds into profits
02 May 2017 - 22:31
London: British oil giant BP rebounded back into net profit in the first quarter, energised by deep cost-cutting and rising crude prices, the group revealed.
Earnings after tax stood at $1.45bn (€1.33bn) in the first three months of 2017, which contrasted with a net loss of $583 million during the first quarter of 2016.
Benchmark oil contract Brent North Sea crude averaged $54.61 in the first quarter, up 55 percent year-on-year.
Energy producers across the world have reaped the benefits of higher oil prices so far this year, because they translate into rising revenues and higher profits.
Prices have been boosted in recent months as the Opec oil producers' cartel has adhered to a production cut agreed late last year.
US giants ExxonMobil and Chevron, as well as French titan Total, all posted bumper profits last week. "Our year has started well. BP is focused on thedisciplined delivery of our plans," said BP chief executive Bob Dudley (pictured) in Tuesday's results statement.
"First-quarter earnings and cash flow were robust. We have shown continued operational momentum."
Replacement cost profit, which strips out exceptional items and changes in the value of oil inventories, rose to $1.51 bn from $532m. That easily beat market expectations of $1.21bn, according to analysts polled by Bloomberg.
In reaction to the results, BP's share price rose as much as three percent in early deals.
It later pared gains to stand 1.5 percent higher in mid-morning trade on London's FTSE 100 index, which rose half a percent in value.
"A healthier oil price environment, increasing production in the upstream division, and improved refining margins in downstream, helped BP beat analyst expectations in the first quarter," noted analyst Nicholas Hyett at stockbroker Hargreaves Lansdown.
The downstream business includes refining, marketing and distribution, while upstream comprises exploration and production.
Despite a first quarter loss in 2016, BP managed an overall annual net profit on the back of cost-cutting -- and lower charges linked to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster.