May 16 -- BP (NYSE: BP) reported on Tuesday a quarterly profit more than doubled from last year’s first quarter and far exceeding analyst expectations, thanks to high oil prices and what it described as an “exceptional” oil and gas trading business. The company's stock price jumped by as much as 5% in early trading on Tuesday.
The UK-based supermajor booked an underlying replacement cost (RC) profit – its proxy for net profit – of $6.245 billion for the first quarter of 2022, more than double the $2.630-billion profit for Q1 2021, and well ahead of analyst forecasts of around $4.5 billion.
The strong first-quarter earnings were “driven by exceptional oil and gas trading, higher oil realizations and a stronger refining result, partly offset by the absence of Rosneft from the first quarter underlying result”, said BP, joining other supermajors in reporting blockbuster profits amid soaring oil prices.
As already flagged in the announcement on exiting its 19.75-percent shareholding in Russian oil giant Rosneft, BP booked pre-tax charges of $25.5 billion, which led to a headline loss.
“Our decision in February to exit our shareholding in Rosneft resulted in the material non-cash charges and headline loss we reported today. But it has not changed our strategy, our financial frame, or our expectations for shareholder distributions,” CEO Bernard Looney said in a statement.
BP generated surplus cash flow of $4.1 billion, up from $3 billion for Q4 2021 and $1.7 billion for the first quarter of 2021.
Following the rising cash flows and underlying profit, the supermajor is expanding its share repurchases, intending to execute a $2.5 billion share buyback prior to announcing its second-quarter results.
Following the release of the results, BP’s shares opened 2% higher in London trading on Tuesday.
For the second quarter, BP sees industry refining margins to remain elevated due to ongoing supply disruptions, particularly in Russia and Europe.
BP’s bumper profit – despite the massive charge related to the Russian exit – came just as UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak hinted last week that a windfall tax on UK oil and gas firms could be introduced if companies don’t invest enough in new energy projects.
Alongside Q1 earnings, BP announced on Tuesday it would invest up to $22.6 billion (£18 billion) in the UK’s energy system by the end of 2030 – in electrifying North Sea production, in offshore wind, EV charging, hydrogen, and carbon capture and storage (CCS).
“We’re backing Britain. It’s been our home for over 110 years, and we’ve been investing in North Sea oil and gas for more than 50 years. We’re fully committed to the UK’s energy transition – providing reliable home-grown energy and, at the same time, focusing on the drive to net zero,” CEO Looney said.