BP Earnings Buoyed by Rising Crude Prices

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BP PLC (NYSE: BP) reported first-quarter 2017 results before markets opened Tuesday. The oil and gas supermajor posted adjusted diluted earnings per American depositary share (ADS) of $0.46 on revenues of $56.39 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported a net loss per ADS of $0.19 on revenues of $38.51 billion. Analysts estimated earnings per ADS of $0.39 on revenues of $51.7 billion. One ADS is equal to six ordinary shares.

BP’s adjusted replacement cost profit (essentially the company’s adjusted net income/loss) in the first quarter totaled $1.51 billion, compared with $532 million in the year-ago quarter. Unadjusted the replacement cost profit totaled $1.41 billion, or $0.43 per ADS, compared with a net loss of $485 million and a net loss per ADS of $0.16 in the first quarter of 2016.

Adjustments to income included a charge of $305 million on non-operating items and net favorable fair value accounting effects totaling $207 million.

CEO Bob Dudley said:

Our year has started well. BP is focused on the disciplined delivery of our plans. First quarter earnings and cash flow were robust. We have shown continued operational momentum — it was another strong quarter for the Downstream and the first of our seven new Upstream major projects has started up, with a further three near completion. We expect these to drive a material improvement in operating cash flow from the second half.

Daily average hydrocarbons production totaled 2.39 million barrels of oil equivalent, up by 3% from year-ago production of 2.32 million barrels. Sequentially, production rose 9.2%.

BP’s price realizations for liquids rose from $43.89 a barrel in the fourth quarter of 2016 to $49.87. In the year-ago quarter, the price realization was $29.61 a barrel. Natural gas averaged $3.50 per thousand cubic feet in the first quarter, up from $3.08 in the 2016 fourth quarter and $2.84 in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Downstream (refining) adjusted pretax profits slipped from $1.81 billion a year ago to $1.74 billion. In its outlook statement, BP said it expects improved industry refining margins to be offset by narrower North American heavy crude differentials and a higher level of turnaround activity.

To date, BP has paid out $62.75 billion in pretax charges related to the disaster that claimed the lives of 11 workers and dumped millions of barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010. In the first quarter, the company paid out $2.3 billion. BP expects total payouts of $4.5 billion to $5.5 billion for the year, dropping to around $2 billion in 2018.

BP expects capital spending of $15 to $17 billion in 2017 and divestiture proceeds of $4.5 billion to $5.5 billion. Divestment proceeds in the first quarter totaled $300 million.

The company also announced its regular quarterly dividend of $0.60 per ADS, a dividend yield of 6.93% at Monday’s closing price.

BP closed unchanged on Monday at $34.32, in a 52-week range of $30.66 to $38.68. ADSs traded up about 1.5% in Tuesday’s premarket session at $34.85. The 12-month consensus price target was $37.79 before Tuesday’s report.