BP shares surge as profits double

BP is seen at a petrol station in Kloten Switzerland

BP is seen at a petrol station in Kloten Switzerland

BP has hailed its best quarterly profit in five years as it reaped the benefits of a higher oil price as well as bigger earnings from its stake in Russia's Rosneft.

The UK-based oil giant said underlying replacement cost profit - its headline earnings figure - had more than doubled to $3.8bn (£3bn) in the third quarter compared to previous year.

The group, along with other oil firms, has been riding high on the back of rising oil prices this year.

BP's profits were ahead of analysts' expectations, and shares in the company were up 3.9% in early trade on the London Stock Exchange.

"Operations are running well across BP and we're bringing new, higher-margin barrels into production faster through efficient project execution".

"Clearly the new higher oil price is making a difference to BP and all the oil majors", Neil Wilson from Markets.com said.

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It added that oil and gas production during the third quarter averaged 3.6 million barrels of oil per day.

Its Thunder Horse Northwest expansion project in the Gulf of Mexico and the Western Flank B project in Australia also began in production earlier this month.

"We have made very good progress with our acquisition from BHP and expect to complete the transaction tomorrow", said Mr Dudley. The sale is expected to completed on Wednesday. "While oil prices remain at these levels, we expect to finance the transaction fully using cash".

The acquisition of about 500,000 producing acres marks a turning point for BP since the Deepwater Horizon rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, for which the company is still paying off more than $65 billion in penalties and clean-up costs.

In a further sign of the upturn in its fortunes, BP said it would increase its quarterly dividend for the first time in almost four years and announced a $6 billion share buyback, to be partly funded by selling some upstream assets.

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