BP's profits set to halve for the second year in a row due to low oil prices

 
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Oil Prices Rise As BP Shuts Pipeline
BP is the latest energy company to be affected by consistently low prices (Source: Getty)

Energy giant BP’s full-year profits are expected to halve to under $3bn, down from almost $6bn last year.

The predicted fall in annual profits comes at the end of a year of low oil prices and a difficult environment for downstream business.

BP’s investor relations team projected underlying profit of $560m (£448.5m) for the final quarter of 2016 ahead of the release of the company’s fourth quarter and full-year results on Tuesday.

The predicted profit marks a rise from the $196m (£157m) reported for the same quarter in 2015, but is a slip from the third quarter of 2016 when the company posted profits of $933m (£747m).

BP has already reported $2.1bn for the first nine months of 2016, bringing the projected total annual profit for 2016 to $2.7bn (£2.2bn), less than half of the $5.9bn (£4.7bn) reported for the previous year.

This is the second year in a row that profits have halved since the company reported a $12.1bn profit in 2014.

The expected results demonstrate the effect of low oil prices in 2016.

Although the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) made a commitment to reducing production in 2016, prices for the full year were low, and even dipped below $30 a barrel in January.

Results reported by other oil companies including Shell, Exxon and Chevron, all show that the environment for the downstream business was weaker in 2016 than in 2015, affecting margins. Last month Chevron an annual loss of $497m, down from a profit of $4.6bn the previous year. This was mainly due to the drop in downstream business earnings from $7.6bn to $3.4bn.

BP is expected to fall in line with this trend, and will likely report bringing down costs and capital spending in response to the weaker trading conditions.

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