BP Bounces Back Continues As Profits Jump 71 Percent

BP's Efforts to Get Back Among Big Oil's Elite Start to Pay Off

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

"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".

BP's cash flow - a closely watched measure for oil groups - rose to 3.6 billion U.S. dollars (£2.6 billion) from 2.1 billion United States dollars (£1.5 billion) a year earlier.

Oil companies are profiting after they cut costs and sold assets to adjust to an era of lower oil prices after crude dropped below $30 a barrel in January 2016.

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.

The company then faces charges of about $2 billion next year, and then more than $1 billion a year out past 2030.

Investors are looking closely at cash flow as an indication of Big Oil's ability to pass on the rewards of higher prices through share buybacks.

"We have delivered another strong set of results" with rising output from major new projects, chief executive officer Bob Dudley said in a statement.

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As of 08:51 BST, BP's share price had added 0.69 percent to 541.70p.

Shareholder dividend stayed at 10 cents per share.

BP has chosen to return part of the windfall to investors by buying back stock issued in lieu of dividends during the downturn, spending $120 million repurchasing 18 million shares in the first quarter. The company's debt will "come down as the year progresses, quarter on quarter, especially given where prices are today".

Underlying replacement cost profit* for the first quarter of 2018 was $2.6 billion, compared with $1.5 billion for the same period in 2017, a rise of 71%.

BP reported a net income of $2.6 billion, according to Reuters. Global crude is now trading near $75 a barrel.

First Upstream major project of 2018, Atoll in Egypt, started production; to date in 2018, final investment decisions have been taken on four new projects – in Oman, India and two in the UK North Sea.

First-quarter production rose 6 percent to 3.7 million barrels per day.

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

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