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BP has revealed second-quarter profits more than trebled to a 14-year high as it joined rival Shell in reaping the benefits of soaring oil and gas prices.
The oil giant reported underlying replacement cost profits – its preferred measure – jumping to a far better-than-expected 8.5 billion US dollars (£6.9 billion) for the three months to June 30, up from 2.8 billion US dollars (£2.3 billion) a year ago.
BP delivered cheer to investors, with a 10% rise in the dividend shareholder payout and by ramping up its share buyback plan with another 3.5 billion US dollars (£2.9 billion) due before the end of September.
Yet the result comes as households are struggling to meet rocketing bills and anger is mounting anger over massive profits from oil and energy firms following bumper results from Shell and British Gas owner Centrica last week.
BP also warned that there is not expected to be any let up with energy prices over the summer, forecasting that crude oil and gas prices will remain high over the third quarter due to supply disruption from Russia.
Households across Britain have been warned they could face an annual energy bill of £3,615 this winter in the latest grim analysis by energy consultant Cornwall Insight.
Joshua Warner, market analyst at City Index, said it was a “recipe that should continue to deliver bumper earnings for BP and other oil and gas giants”.
The Government is introducing a windfall tax on the profits of energy companies, but it has faced criticism for giving strong incentives to allow companies to invest in oil and gas, while there are no tax incentives in the policy for green investment.
But BP’s reported half-year figures were impacted by a massive 24.4 billion US dollar (£19.9 billion) hit from the firm’s move to ditch its near-20% stake in Russian oil producer Rosneft in response to the Ukraine war.
This left it with statutory replacement cost losses of 15.4 billion US dollars (£13 billion), against profits of 5.7 billion US dollars (£4.7 billion) a year earlier.
BP chief executive Bernard Looney insisted the group was continuing to “perform while transforming”.
He said: “Our people have continued to work hard throughout the quarter helping to solve the energy trilemma – secure, affordable and lower carbon energy.
“We do this by providing the oil and gas the world needs today – while at the same time, investing to accelerate the energy transition.”