BG GROUP, the oil and gas major, said yesterday that profits had tumbled on the back of an energy price slump, but maintained the outlook for the immediate future was bright. <br /><br />Profits at the group, which had pleased investors with a string of recent discoveries in Brazil, fell to £838m, including one-time items, for the three months to September, down from £1.53bn the previous year. <br /><br />Profit for the first nine months of the year dropped to £3bn from £4.2bn. “It’s been a difficult year,” chief executive Frank Chapman said.<br /><br />BG blamed a 41 per cent dive in oil prices and a 60 per cent drop in gas prices, as revenue and other operating income slipped 32 per cent to £2.25bn.<br /><br />But Chapman stayed confident, saying operations in BG’s integrated gas business and increasing production levels gave him “confidence in the outlook for the group’s performance”.<br /><br />The group also said yesterday it would report results in dollars from next year, but that dividends would still be paid in sterling. <br /><br />BG missed forecasts for output due to a delayed project, but the resilience of its liquified natural gas (LNG) business boosted the company. <br /><br />Many industry executives in recent months have predicted weak gas prices and demand in the coming 18 months or more due to spare capacity created by the global economic crisis.<br /><br />However, chief financial officer Ashley Almanza said there were signs of recovery in Asia and Latin America.<br /><br />“Large buyers are still showing good appetite for big volumes,” he said.<br /><br />BG said it had sold around 60 per cent of its North Sea gas production at an average price of 40p per therm.