BP earnings double on larger oil value

BP logo is seen at a fuel station of British oil company BP in St. Petersburg

BP has announced a sharp increase in its profits for 2017, painting its most positive financial picture since the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

BP on Tuesday reported fourth-quarter underlying replacement cost profit, the companys definition of net income, of $US2.1 billion, compared with a profit of $US400 million a year earlier and $US1.9 billion in the third quarter of 2017.

BP posted group underlying RC profit of USD6.17 billion for 2017, more than double 2016's USD2.59 billion, and ahead of company provided consensus of USD6.00 billion.

BP Plc dodged the disappointment that afflicted other oil-company earnings as it did a better job of exploiting the upswing in crude prices.

BP has also benefited from the recent launch of seven new projects, excluding BP's share of Rosneft production, which boosted oil and gas production delivering a 12 percent growth, reaching the highest level since 2010. The results come after the FTSE 100 group, whose performance has been pressured by costs related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, became the first European oil and gas major to resume share buybacks past year.

"We delivered operationally and financially, with very strong earnings in the Downstream, Upstream production up 12 percent, and our finances rebalanced", Bob Dudley was quoted as saying in a press release. "We are entering the second year of our five-year plan with a real impetus, more and more confident that we can continue to grow", added he.

Operating cash flow for 2017, excluding Gulf of Mexico oil spill payments, was $24.1 billion, compared with $17.6 billion in 2016, BP said. It does expect long-term earnings to benefit from the reduction in U.S. federal corporate tax to 21% from 35%.

Alongside higher prices full-year earnings were helped, Shell said, by improved refining performance and higher production on new fields, offsetting field declines and divestments. Net debt fell to $37.8 billion at the end of the fourth quarter, down significantly from $39.8 billion in the preceding period.

BP was the first among its European peers to resume share buybacks in the fourth quarter of 2017 after years of dilutive austerity measures in the face of the industry slump.