Oil giant BP sees annual profits soar to £4.4bn

6 February 2018, 07:16

Annual profits at BP have more than doubled in the space of a year - rocketing to £4.4bn in 2017 on the back of higher oil prices.

The British energy company has been buoyed by a recovery in the crude oil market, helping profits rise dramatically from the £1.9bn recorded in 2016.

BP is the latest oil major to benefit from climbing prices, with Tuesday's results marking one of the strongest years in the company's recent history.

Last month, Brent crude hit $70 (£50) per barrel - its highest level in more than three years.

Bob Dudley, the group chief executive of BP, said: "This has been a really, really good year and it sets us off very well to enter into 2018.

"We enter the second year of our five-year plan with real momentum, increasingly confident that we can continue to deliver growth across our business, improving cash flows and returns for shareholders out to 2021 and beyond."

BP's earnings were also given a boost after seven new projects came on line during 2017 - with oil and gas production in the fourth quarter rising by 18% to the equivalent of 2.58 million barrels of oil a day.

For the full year, production costs per barrel tumbled by 16% to $7.11 (£5.09), with BP's output reaching its highest level since the year of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The company is still suffering financial ramifications from the disaster, incurring $3.18bn (£2.28bn) of Gulf-related costs in 2017. In total, BP has now paid more than $65bn (£46.5bn) in fines and compensation to businesses.

BP's fortunes and reputation were left in tatters after the explosion at the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig killed 11 men off the coast of Louisiana, causing 134 million gallons of oil to spew into Gulf waters and triggering the worst environmental catastrophe in US history.

The company is not the only oil giant to defy analysts' expectations. Last week, Royal Dutch Shell announced its annual profits had surged to £8.5bn - a leap of 242% on the previous year.