The annual profits of oil giant BP more than doubled a year ago, largely amid increase in oil prices.
The news comes one week after Anglo-Dutch rival Royal Dutch Shell announced an annual profit of $13 billion, also energised by rising oil and gas prices.
Last week, North Sea oil production to 200,000 barrels by 2020 through a variety of projects.
GETTY BP are in the second year of a five-year plan
BP (LON:BP) saw its profits soar in 2017, with the group having benefitted from an upswing in oil prices, the blue-chip company has disclosed.
"2017 was one of the strongest years in BP's recent history", said Group Chief Executive Bob Dudley.
Including Rosneft, production was 3.6 million barrels of oil equivalent a day, 10 percent higher than 2016.
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"We delivered operationally and financially, with very strong earnings in the downstream, upstream production up 12 percent, and our finances rebalanced". "And we did all this while maintaining safe and reliable operations", Dudley added. "We enter the second year of our five-year plan with real momentum, increasingly confident that we can continue to deliver growth".
Operating cash flow for 2017, excluding Gulf of Mexico oil spill payments, was $24.1 billion, compared with $17.6 billion in 2016, BP said.
The company reported a net profit for the fourth quarter of 2.1 billion United States dollars, surpassing analysts' forecasts of 1.9 billion USD. "2018 should be a year where operating cash flow can cover cash capex, full cash dividend and Macondo payments without disposal proceeds". It does expect long-term earnings to benefit from the reduction in United States federal corporate tax to 21% from 35%. Net debt fell to $37.8 billion at the end of the fourth quarter, down significantly from $39.8 billion in the preceding period.
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In the fourth quarter of 2017, the company bought back shares worth 343 million Dollars.
BP would generate profit in 2018 at an oil price of $50 a barrel, chief financial officer Brian Gilvary said, as years of spending cuts kicked in and as it slowly shakes off a $65bn bill for penalties and clean-up costs of the 2010 spill.
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