LONDON – BP’s profits more than doubled in 2017 to $6.2 billion powered by higher prices and output of oil and gas, allowing the company to resume share buybacks as it recovers from a three-year downturn.
The London-listed company saw one of the strongest output increases in its history last year, lifting production to levels not seen since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill.
Production is set to continue growing into the end of the decade thanks to more field start-ups this year.
BP would generate profits in 2018 at an oil price of $50 a barrel, Chief Financial Officer Brian Gilvary told Reuters, as years of spending cuts kicked in and as it slowly shakes off a $65 billion bill for penalties and clean-up costs of the 2010 spill.
BP was the first among its European peers to resume share buybacks in the fourth quarter of 2017 after years dilutive austerity measures in the face of the industry slump.
With a 20 percent bounce in oil prices in the last quarter of 2017 to $61 a barrel, BP had a surplus of cash that allowed it to buy $343 million worth of shares in the fourth quarter, offsetting the scrip dilution.