BP profits hit nearly $5bn in three months

BP PLC (LSE: BP.) has reported an increase in first-quarter profit, reflecting strong oil and gas trading. The oil major stated that its underlying replacement cost profit for the first three months of 2023 was US$4.96bn, up from US$4.81bn in the previous quarter but lower than the US$6.25bn reported in the first quarter of 2022.

This result surpassed analysts’ expectations of approximately US$4.3bn.

BP attributed the results to a strong oil trading result, an exceptional gas marketing and trading outcome, and a lower level of refinery turnaround activity, offset by lower refining margins and liquids and gas realisations.

The FTSE 100-listed firm announced that it plans to return US$1.75bn to shareholders and expects to deliver share buybacks of around US$4.0bn per year, with a capacity for an annual increase in the dividend per ordinary share of approximately 4%. The company expects capital expenditure, including inorganic capital expenditure, of US$16-18bn in 2023.

In the first quarter, operating cash flow was US$7.6bn, including a working capital build of US$1.4bn, while capital expenditure was US$3.6bn. BP’s quarterly dividend remained unchanged from the previous quarter at 6.61 cents but increased from 5.46 cents the previous year.

Bernard Looney, BP’s chief executive, said the company’s focus remains on safe and reliable operations, which contributed to its strong performance and strategic delivery in the first quarter. The company anticipates oil prices to remain elevated in the second quarter due to OPEC+’s recent decision to restrict production and a strengthening Chinese demand, tightening supply/demand balances.

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