BP, Shell and BG Group earnings: Investec says oil companies' profits set to halve amid rout

 
Jessica Morris
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Oil prices have more than halved since last June (Source: Getty)

Could oil majors' profits halve when they update the market on their third-quarter trading this week?

Broker Investec has said it expects low oil prices to push the sector's earnings down 29 per cent quarter-on-quarter, and 57 per cent annually.

Amid the gloom, traders will be looking for evidence oil companies' upstream operations - which relate to the extraction and production of the black stuff - have beaten analysts' estimates.

"This would underpin confidence that the majors are indeed on that fabled path towards cash neutrality", Neill Morton, an analyst at Investec, wrote.

Read more: Why Opec thinks oil prices will stay below $100 for a decade

London-listed BP's results tomorrow could show pre-tax profits have fallen 70 per cent to $1.57bn (£1.03bn), the broker suggested.

On Thursday, Shell's underlying earnings could crumble 55 per cent to $2.65bn, while BG could end the week with pre-tax profit tumbling 82 per cent to $230m.

Oil prices have crashed from a peak of around $102 per barrel in June last year, to just $48 per barrel today, and analysts have speculated this could encourage larger players snap up smaller, more vulnerable rivals.

Earlier this year, Shell announced the takeover of BG in a deal which will create the biggest company on the FTSE.

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