BP quarterly profit strikes $2.8bn on high oil prices

British oil giant BP said on Tuesday that second-quarter net profit rocketed to $2.8bn, energised partly by high crude prices, and hiked its dividend for the first time in four years.

Earnings after taxation stood at the equivalent of €2.4bn in the three months to June, BP said in a results statement.

That compared with a slender profit of $144m in the same part of 2017 - when its performance was weighed down by asset writedowns and large tax payments.

"We continue to make steady progress against our strategy and plans, delivering another quarter of strong operational and financial performance," said chief executive Bob Dudley.

"Given this momentum and the strength of our financial frame, we are increasing our dividend for the first time in almost four years.

"This reflects not just our commitment to growing distributions to shareholder but our confidence in the future."

BP is the latest global energy major to post bumper profits, following in the footsteps of Anglo-Dutch rival Royal Dutch Shell, Repsol of Spain, Total of France, and US titans Chevron and ExxonMobil.

Rising oil prices translate into rising revenues and profits for energy majors and producer nations.

The oil market has surged on the back of a December 2016 deal between the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) cartel and Russia to curb output.

The price of London Brent crude, the main global oil benchmark, has jumped some 50% over the last twelve months to the current level of $74 per barrel.

OPEC and Russia, fearing an out-of-control spike in prices, reached a new deal in June to open the taps.

The buoyant market has nevertheless fizzed higher on output disruptions in oil producers like Iran, Libya and Venezuela.

BP meanwhile took another $700m hit for the second quarter in financial costs linked to a deadly explosion on a BP-leased drilling rig in 2010 that unleashed the worst environmental disaster in US history. That took its total bill for the catastrophe to about $65bn.

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