Rocketing oil prices are expected to boost BP and Shell's profits

Courtney Goldsmith
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Oil Appraoches $50 Per Barrel
Rising oil prices are expected to propel profits at BP and Shell (Source: Getty)

Oil majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell are expected to report a boost to third-quarter profits this week as oil prices notched explosive growth in the period.

Over the three months, Brent crude oil prices grew around 20 per cent, making it the strongest third-quarter performance since 2004. On Friday, Brent futures climbed above $60 a barrel to reach the highest level since July 2015.

BP's profits are expected to shoot up to $1.5bn (£1.1bn) for the third quarter, while Shell is forecast to report profit of $3.6bn.

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BP earlier this month announced Carl-Henric Svanberg, its chairman of seven years, would step down following the company's annual general meeting in May 2018.

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said BP would likely steer investors towards the replacement cost pre-tax profit metric, which excludes the change in value of inventory to "try and smooth out some of the effect of movements in oil and gas prices".

"In the third quarter of 2016 BP made a replacement cost profit of $1.6bn (and in Q2 2017 this figure was $565m, although on an adjusted – before bad stuff – basis those numbers were $1.1bn in Q3 2016 and $2.2bn in Q2 2017)," Mould said.

The company's dividend is expected to remain unchanged at 10 cents. Mould said BP had been selling assets, slashing investment and raising debt to fund its dividend, but higher oil prices would change that.

"The higher the oil price goes, the better the cash flow and the safer the dividend in the long run."

Last week, profits at rivals Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Total jumped due to higher oil prices.

BP and Shell will report third-quarter results on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively.

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