BP Earnings Set the Stage for Solid Year Ahead

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BP PLC (NYSE: BP) reported fourth-quarter and full-year 2017 results before markets opened Tuesday. For the quarter, the oil and gas supermajor posted adjusted diluted earnings per American depositary share (ADS) of $0.64 on revenues of $67.82 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported earnings per ADS of $0.13 on revenues of $51.07 billion. Analysts estimated earnings per ADS of $0.57 on revenues of $50.76 billion for the most recent quarter. One ADS is equal to six ordinary shares.

For the full year, BP reported earnings of $1.88 per ADS and revenues of $240.21 billion, compared to $0.83 and $183.01 billion, respectively, in 2016. Analysts were looking for $233.57 billion and $1.85.

BP’s adjusted replacement cost profit (essentially the company’s adjusted net income/loss) in the fourth quarter totaled $2.11 billion, compared with $400 million in the year-ago quarter. On an unadjusted basis, BP posted a replacement cost loss of $583 million, or $0.18 per ADS, compared with a profit of $72 million and a net profit per ADS of $0.02 in the fourth quarter of 2016.

The unadjusted replacement cost included non-operating items valued at $2.52 billion and a negative tax adjustment of $175 million. Net profit for the quarter was $27 million, compared with $497 million a year ago. Net profit for the year totaled $3.39 billion, up from $115 million in 2016.

CEO Bob Dudley said:

2017 was one of the strongest years in BP’s recent history. We delivered operationally and financially, with very strong earnings in the Downstream, Upstream production up 12%, and our finances rebalanced. And we did all this while maintaining safe and reliable operations. 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. At the same time, we are embracing the energy transition, seeking new opportunities in a changing, lower-carbon world.

Daily average hydrocarbons production totaled 2.58 million barrels of oil equivalent, up by 18% year over year. Sequentially, production rose 4.8%. The company’s reserves replacement ratio was 143%, adding around 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent to BP’s discovered resources.

BP’s price realizations for liquids rose from $47.45 a barrel in the third quarter of 2017 to $56.16. In the year-ago quarter, the price realization was $43.89 a barrel. Natural gas averaged $3.23 per thousand cubic feet in the fourth quarter, up from $2.89 in the 2017 third quarter and from $3.08 in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Downstream (refining) adjusted pretax profits rose from $1.46 billion a year ago to $2.49 billion. BP’s refining marker margin was $14.40 a barrel in the fourth quarter, down from $16.3 in the third quarter and up from $11.40 a year-ago.

To date, BP has paid out $65.77 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 fourth quarter, the company paid out $1.69 billion to satisfy business economic losses and other claims.

BP’s organic capital spending totaled $4.6 billion in the fourth quarter and totaled $16.5 billion for the year. The company estimated 2018 capex of $15 billion to $16 billion.

BP’s ADSs closed down about 3.4% on Monday, at $39.78 in a 52-week range of $33.10 to $44.62. They traded up about 0.1% in Tuesday’s premarket session at $39.85. The 12-month consensus price target was $43.87 before Tuesday’s report.