First rise in four years

BP raises dividend as profits boosted by higher oil price

BP has increased its dividend to shareholders for the first time in four years after its profits were boosted by higher oil prices.

The payment has been increased by 2.5% to 10.25 cents a share.

The company said that its underlying replacement cost profit – the widely used measure of profitability for the oil sector – rose to $5.4 billion in the first half compared to $2.1bn in 2017.

For the second quarter, it hit $2.8bn against $684m in the corresponding period last year, topping the $2.7bn consensus forecast.

The company’s first-half production rose to 3,662bn barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd), which included production from Russian partner Rosneft up from 3,544mln boepd a year earlier.

Brent crude futures, currently trading above $74 a barrel, have risen by around 16%  over the first half of 2018 and are up about 60% since June 30 2017.

BP’s net debt was $39.3bn at the end of June compared with $40bn at the end of March.

In its biggest deal in nearly 20 years, BP agreed to buy US shale oil and gas assets from the global miner for $10.5bn, expanding the oil major’s footprint in oil-rich onshore basins.

BP is also buying back shares up to a value of $200mln in the first half of this year.

Chief executive Bob Dudley said: “We are increasing our dividend for the first time in almost four years. This reflects not just our commitment to growing distributions to shareholders but our confidence in the future.”


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