Shareholders Rewarded by BP as Oil Outlook Brightens

BP emphasised its confidence in the future as it reported better than expected third quarter results days after the oil price exceeded $60 for the first time since 2015.

The energy giant, a staple among many United Kingdom pension funds, revealed a share buyback to reward long-suffering investors that are battered by the collapse of the market in recent years.

Shares were 2 percent higher in lunchtime trading.

For the third quarter, replacement cost profit dropped 17 percent compared to the same period in 2016 to $1.38bn (£1.04bn) because of one-off costs and accounting charges.

These included a write-off of some assets amounting to $145m in the Gulf of Mexico as well as an additional $84m to pay for costs from the destructive Deepwater Horizon blow-out in 2010 – a disaster which has cost BP $63.4bn so far.

However, after stripping out one-off costs, underlying profits grew 9 percent to $1.77bn.

Like the rest of the industry, BP has been badly affected by the collapse of the oil market amid a combination of a surplus of supply and weak demand.

That observed the price of a barrel of Brent crude decrease from a peak of over n $100 in 2014 to $27 early last year, with thousands of jobs dismissed in the North Sea and across the industry.

However,  the price has steadily recovered with major oil-producing nations agreeing to restrict supply. Last week, the price exceeded $60 on signs that the deal would be extended.

Brian Gilvary, the finance director of BP, said that it had delivered “strong progress this year in adjusting to the lower oil price environment” and has taken its finances into “organic balance at an oil price just below $50 a barrel.”

Gilvary continued: “Given the momentum, we see across our businesses and our confidence in the outlook for the group’s finances, we will be recommencing a share buyback programme this quarter.”

Shareholders are rewarded by share buybacks by decreasing the number of outstanding shares, boosting the earnings per share and the market value of those remaining.

BP is set to become the first major European oil and gas company to continue share buybacks since the price drop in 2014.

Chief executive Bob Dudley stated: “We are steadily building a track record of delivering on our plans and growing across our businesses.”

The equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, Nicholas Hyett stockbrokers, stated: “BP has spent the past seven years addressing big problems, with first the Gulf of Mexico disaster and then the oil price crash throwing the group into disarray.

“Those headwinds are finally fading into the history books.”