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Group sees 'real momentum'

Surge in profits as BP hits exploration high

Bob Dudley: ‘increasingly confident’

Oil giant BP enjoyed one of its strongest years with a sharp rise in profits and the most successful year for exploration since 2004.

Underlying replacement cost profit rose 139% to $6.166 billion from $2.585bn in 2016 amid continuing growth across the business.

Chief executive Bob Dudley said: “2017 was one of the strongest years in BP’s recent history. We delivered operationally and financially, with very strong earnings in the Downstream, Upstream production up 12%, and our finances rebalanced. And we did all this while maintaining safe and reliable operations.

“We enter the second year of our five-year plan with real momentum, increasingly confident that we can continue to deliver growth across our business, improving cash flows and returns for shareholders out to 2021 and beyond.

 “At the same time, we are embracing the energy transition, seeking new opportunities in a changing, lower-carbon world.

The company announced a quarterly dividend of 10 cents per ordinary share ($0.600 per ADS), which is expected to be paid on 29 March. The corresponding amount in sterling will be announced on 19 March.

·   Underlying replacement cost profit* was $6.2 billion for full year 2017 and $2.1 billion for the fourth quarter, compared with $2.6 billion and $400 million for full year and fourth quarter 2016 respectively.

·   Operating cash flow for 2017, excluding Gulf of Mexico oil spill payments*, was $24.1 billion, compared with $17.6 billion in 2016. Gulf of Mexico oil spill payments in 2017 were $5.2 billion, compared with $6.9 billion in 2016.

·   Downstream earnings were very strong with underlying replacement cost profit of $7.0 billion, 24% higher than 2016.

·   Operational reliability was high, with refining availability* and Upstream BP-operated plant reliability* both 95%.

·   Seven new major projects* delivered, boosting oil and gas production. Upstream production, excluding BP’s share of Rosneft production, was 12% higher than 2016, the highest since 2010. Including Rosneft, production was 3.6 million barrels of oil equivalent a day, 10% higher than 2016. Oil and gas realizations were 25% higher.

·   Exploration delivered the most successful year for BP since 2004, with around 1 billion boe resources discovered.

·   Dividend unchanged at 10 cents per share.

·   BP began share buybacks in the fourth quarter, spending $343 million, fully offsetting the dilution from scrip dividends issued in the third quarter.

·   Non-operating items in the fourth quarter, which are excluded from underlying profit, included a $0.9 billion charge for US tax changes and a $1.7 billion post-tax charge relating to a further provision for claims associated with the oil spill.


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