Higher oil prices push TNK-BP into black

TNK-BP returned to profit in the first quarter, it said yesterday, while analysts predicted other Russian oil majors would follow as higher oil prices and a drop in export taxes reversed losses sustained last year.<br /><br />TNK-BP, half-owned by BP, posted a first-quarter net profit of $747m (&pound;471m), down 58 per cent year-on-year, as lower crude prices offset an increase in production from new fields.<br /><br />Russia&rsquo;s third-largest oil producer was reporting quarterly results for the first time, but the profit contrasted with the $682m loss that BP booked in the fourth quarter from its 50 per cent share in the company.<br /><br />Oil producers in Russia, the world&rsquo;s second-largest exporter, suffered when crude prices slumped from record highs struck in July 2008. The lag in export duties, which were still pegged to higher prices, led producers to make losses. &nbsp;State-controlled Rosneft and the country&rsquo;s largest independent producer, Lukoil, are expected to book first-quarter profits.