Monday, 10 December, 2018

BP profits take City by surprise

Oil Prices Rise As BP Shuts Pipeline The oil and gas company reported its best results in three years
| 02 May, 2018, 02:07

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

Underlying profit was also 23 per cent higher than the previous quarter, marking BP's best results in three years.

"Moving through 2018, we're determined to keep delivering our operational targets and maintaining capital discipline while growing cash flow and returns", Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley said in a statement, according to Reuters.

Cash flow from operations, excluding payments related to spill, was $5.4 billion in the first quarter.

"The market seems satisfied for now by assurances that this will represent the peak for outflows relating to the disaster, but if this is not in evidence later in the year, BP may be in for harsher treatment".

In the first three months of 2018, however, BP's debt rose to $40 billion due to the settlement of more lawsuits over the deadly 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico which has cost it more than $65 billion.

The London-based company reported net income of $2.47 billion, up from $1.45 billion in the same period a year ago.


BP reported $2.6 billion in underlying replacement cost profit, its definition of net income, exceeding the $2.2 billion forecast by analysts in a company-provided survey.

"The results definitely benefit from a higher oil price that we've seen come through", Gilvary noted.

BP has chosen to return part of the higher earnings from the windfall to shareholders by buying back shares issued in lieu of dividends during the downturn, spending US$120 million buying 18 million shares in the first quarter.

Since the start of the year, BP has started production at the Atoll Phase One project in Egypt, the first of six expected start-ups this year.

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".

"It's not only about the oil price, it is also about the performance of the kit", Gilvary said.

It has so far cost the group more than 65 billion U.S. dollars (£48 billion), and although BP has all the major settlements now under its belt, it still has a few smaller legal bills to pay.

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