BP joins the other majors of the Big Oil pack—Shell, Exxon, and Chevron—who also reported solid sets of earnings last week, despite the nearly 40-percent drop in oil prices in the fourth quarter of 2018.
BP said on Tuesday that its underlying replacement cost profit—its closest metric to a net profit— more than doubled to US$12.7 billion for 2018 from US$6.166 billion for 2017, while the Q4 underlying replacement cost profit came in at US$3.477 billion, up from US$2.107 billion in Q4 2017 and slightly down from the Q3 2018 earnings of US$3.838 billion.
The full-year 2018 profit beat a company-provided consensus estimate that had forecast US$11.88 billion in earnings.
BP’s 2018 upstream production, excluding its 20-percent stake in Russia’s Rosneft, increased by 3 percent annually to reach the highest since 2010—the watershed year for the group marred by the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
For 2019, BP expects its underlying production to be higher than 2018, thanks to the start of major projects. Further out in time, the group said in a presentation accompanying the results release that it was on track for 900,000 new barrels per day by 2021. The US$10.5-billion acquisition of U.S. shale assets from BHP in 2018 is BP’s biggest deal this century, and one that the UK supermajor will rely on for boosting production and margins. Related: Why Are Asian Spot LNG Prices Plunging?
BP’s operating cash flow—excluding payments for the Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon oil spill—rose to US$26.1 billion in 2018 from US$24.1 billion for 2017.
“Operating cash flow excluding working capital change was up 33% for the full year and 17% higher than last quarter, including a positive contribution from our new US assets. The continued strong cash flow growth underpins the balance sheet as we absorb the BHP acquisition and deliver more than $10 billion of divestments over the next two years,” BP’s chief financial officer Brian Gilvary said.
Following the results release, BP’s shares were rallying 5 percent in London shortly after noon local time, while shares in New York were up 3.58 percent in pre-market trade at 07:51 a.m. EST.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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