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BP (NYSE: BP) raised its dividend even as it missed earnings estimates after reporting on Tuesday a 70% annual decline in second-quarter profit, due to lower oil and gas prices and weaker refining margins and trading business.
Underlying replacement cost profit, the most closely watched metric, slumped to $2.6 billion for the second quarter, down from $5.0 billion for the first quarter and from $8.45 billion for the second quarter of 2022.
BP’s earnings between April and June 2023 fell short of analyst estimates of $3.5 billion compiled by Refinitiv.
Despite the lower-than-expected profit, the supermajor raised its quarterly dividend by 10% and announced a further $1.5 billion share buyback expected to be completed prior to reporting the third-quarter results.
After the announcement of additional returns to shareholders, BP’s shares jumped by 2% at the opening on the London Stock Exchange at 8 a.m. local time on Tuesday.
Compared to the first quarter of 2023, the lower second-quarter earnings reflected significantly lower realized refining margins, a significantly higher level of turnaround and maintenance activity, a weak oil trading result, and lower oil and gas realizations, BP said. The gas marketing and trading result was “exceptional”, albeit lower than in the first quarter, the supermajor added.
“Our underlying performance was resilient with good cash delivery - during a period of significant turnaround activity and weaker margins in our refining business,” chief executive officer Bernard Looney said.
“And we’re delivering for shareholders growing our dividend and announcing a further share buyback. This reflects confidence in our performance and the outlook for cash flow, as well as continued progress reducing our share count.”
“We are committed to returning 60% of 2023 surplus cash flow through share buybacks,” chief financial officer Murray Auchincloss commented.
As with all other international majors, the second-quarter earnings at BP were hit by lower oil and gas prices, weaker refining margins, and weaker oil and gas trading. The UK-based firm joins European peers Shell and TotalEnergies and U.S. ExxonMobil in reporting second-quarter earnings below analyst expectations.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.