Oil giant BP is expected to report its second-highest first-quarter profit in more than a decade next week, despite a dip from last year’s massive spike.
Analysts expect the company to report that underlying replacement cost profit – the way the company prefers to measure its earnings – reached 4.27 billion dollars (£3.4 billion) in the first three months of the year.
Apart from last year’s 6.2 billion dollars, it would be the single best first quarter that the oil major has had since 2012 when it made 4.7 billion dollars.
If the oil majors – Shell is also reporting next week – were hoping to get away from the controversy brought by last year’s record profits they might have to wait longer yet.
Although profits have fallen significantly since last year, fossil fuel prices have far from returned to the levels traders had been able to expect historically.
So both BP and Shell’s profits are likely to be accompanied by calls from politicians and non-governmental organisations.
Labour and the Liberal Democrats have already repeatedly called for a more punishing windfall tax to be levied against the oil majors.
The Government has responded by pointing to its current windfall tax, which Chancellor Jeremy Hunt already made more onerous in the autumn statement.
Shell is expected to report adjusted earnings of 7.965 billion dollars for the first quarter when it reports. It will be a reduction from the £9.1 billion it made a year earlier.
The results will come just a week after protesters had to be escorted out of BP’s annual general meeting.
Climate change activists were furious with the oil giant which had watered down its climate change ambitions at its annual results in February.
The business said that while it was increasing its spending on drilling for oil and gas by 8 billion dollars, it was also increasing spending on the transition to a green economy by the same amount.
Shareholders in both companies are likely to hope for a small expectations beat to help the value of their investments rise.
BP reports on Tuesday and Shell on Thursday.