LONDON: BP’s second quarter profit soared to $8.45 billion, its highest in 14 years, as strong refining margins and oil trading helped it boost its dividend and share repurchases.
BP increased its dividend by 10% to 6.006 cents per share, more than its previous guidance of a 4% annual increase.
The company also increased its share repurchases plan for the current quarter to $3.5 billion after it bought $4.1 billion in the first half of the year.
The company said it expected crude oil and gas prices as well as refining margins to remain “elevated” in the third quarter and said it would stick to its target of using 60% of its surplus cash on share buybacks.
“BP continues to build a track record of delivery against its disciplined financial frame,” Chief Financial Officer Murray Auchincloss said in a statement.
BP brings the second quarter profit tally for the top Western oil and gas companies to $59 billion after rivals including Exxon Mobil and Shell reported record earnings last week.
BP’s underlying replacement cost profit, its definition of net earnings, reached $8.45 billion in the second quarter, the highest since 2008 and far exceeding analysts’ expectations of $6.8 billion.
That was up from $6.25 billion in the first quarter and $2.8 billion a year earlier.
The strong performance was driven by strong refining margins, “exceptional” oil trading performance as well as higher fuel prices, which were, however, offset by weaker gas trading, BP said.
An outage at a major U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant also weighed on profits, BP said.
BP halved its dividend to 5.25 cents in July 2020 for the first time in a decade in the wake of the pandemic.
It has since vowed to increase it by 4% per year.