May 1, 2018

BP hints at future dividend increases

BP has floated the possibility of raising its dividend for the first time since oil prices crashed four years ago after reporting a 71 per cent increase in first-quarter earnings. In October last year BP became the first European oil and gas group to resume share buybacks after the downturn and others, including Total of France, have since followed suit. Better than expected profits from BP brought to a close a generally strong set of quarterly results from the oil and gas "Supermajors," fuelled by a 25 per cent increase in oil prices from last year to an average $67 a barrel during the period. BP had the additional advantage of strongly rising production after the start up of seven new oil and gasfields last year, ranging from Oman to Trinidad, lifted output by 6 per cent to 3.7m barrels per day. Underlying replacement cost profits, the measure tracked most closely by analysts, were $2.6bn, up from $1.5bn in the same period last year, and well above analysts' consensus forecast for $2.2bn. Operating cash flow, excluding Deepwater Horizon payments, was $5.4bn, an increase of $1bn from last year.

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