BP profits leap by 71% as oil prices rebound

BP’s profits jumped by 71% during the first three months of the year, in the latest sign that the British oil giant is back on a path to growth.

The recent increase in crude and gas prices combined with a 6% rise in production to push profits up to $2.6bn (£1.9bn).

Bob Dudley, the BP chief executive, said the company had delivered a strong set of results. The firm’s share price rose to its highest level since 2010.

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While the growth in earnings was greater than the company’s European peers, BP’s profits were still lower than Anglo-Dutch firm Shell’s $5.32bn and French group Total’s $2.9bn.

BP was also hit by a $1.6bn compensation bill for the Deepwater Horizon disaster, on top of the $65bn it has already paid out since the 2010 oil spill. Cash flow was nearly $1bn below what analysts had expected, at $5.4bn.

The company is the latest oil major to benefit from a bullish oil price, which has climbed from about $67 a barrel at the start of the year to nearly $75 today.

The price of crude has been pushed up by Saudi- and Russian-led production curbs, which have brought global supply and demand closer into balance.

Geopolitical instability, including the prospect of Donald Trump not renewing the Iran nuclear deal later this month, has also been a driver.

Dudley said that 2018 would see BP “determined to keep delivering our operational targets and maintaining capital discipline while growing cash flow and returns”.