Oil price rise helps BP smash forecasts in its first quarter

Helen Cahill
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FILE PHOTO - BP Oil Posts Record Profit
Shell is expected to post similarly upbeat figures later this week (Source: Getty)

BP's profits smashed analysts' expectations this morning as the energy giant cashed in on rising oil prices.

The figures

Profits on an underlying replacement cost basis rose to $1.5bn (£1.2bn) for the three months to the end of March, beating the consensus forecast of $1.2bn. In the same quarter last year, profits were $532m.

Operating cash flow increased from $4.4bn to $3bn, and BP's dividend stayed at 10 cents per share.

Read more: BP sells stake in Chinese petrochemical firm SECCO for $1.7bn

BP bumped up its production by five per cent in the quarter to 3.5m barrels per day. At time of writing, BP was the top FTSE 100 riser, with its share price up 2.37 per cent to 453p.

Why it's interesting

BP has been benefiting from an 80 per cent jump in oil prices from the lows recorded at the beginning of last year. US oil giants ExxonMobil and Chevron both beat market estimates when they reported figures last week; Exxon more than doubled its quarterly profit to $4bn, despite its production dropping by four per cent. Shell is reporting its results on Thursday, and a similar surge in profits is expected.

What BP said

Chief executive Bob Dudley said: "Our year has started well. BP is focused on the disciplined delivery of our plans. First quarter earnings and cash flow were robust. We have shown continued operational momentum - its was another strong quarter for the downstream and the first of our seven new upstream major projects has started up, with a further three near completion. We expect these to drive a material improvement in operating cash flow from the second half."

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