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BP reports one of its strongest quarters in years

BP reports one of its strongest quarters in years

BP's profit more than doubled in 2017 to $6.2bn powered by higher prices and output of oil and gas, allowing the company to resume share buybacks as it recovers from a three-year downturn.

Underlying replacement cost profit was $2.1B for Q4 and $6.2B for the full year, compared with $400M and $2.6B for the year-ago quarter and FY 2016, respectively.

The seven new projects contributed more than 500 million barrels of oil a day net new production capacity to the group and BP's 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent discovered resources in 2017 was its best result since 2004.

"2017 was one of the strongest years in BP's recent history", BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley said in a statement.

Including Rosneft, production was 3.6 million barrels of oil equivalent a day, 10 percent higher than 2016. "And we did all this while maintaining safe and reliable operations", Dudley added. "2018 should be a year where operating cash flow can cover cash capex, full cash dividend and Macondo payments without disposal proceeds". The results come after the FTSE 100 group, whose performance has been pressured by costs related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, became the first European oil and gas major to resume share buybacks previous year.

Russian pilot killed after plane downed in Syria: defense ministry
It is not known who shot down the plane, but jihadist group al-Qaeda-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham has a presence in the area. The authenticity of the video could not be independently confirmed but it corresponded to events reported by the AP.

CFO Brian Gilvary thinks crude oil prices are "ahead of where we expected them to be" and sees Brent correcting to $50-$55/bbl by year-end, which will keep a tight rein on BP's spending, with this year's capital budget capped at $15B-$16B vs. $16.5B last year.

"It is important for us, there is no doubt we will increase investments", Dudley, himself a USA citizen, said in an analyst call after BP reported a surge in profits in 2017.

In the fourth quarter of 2017, the company bought back shares worth 343 million Dollars.

The company is not the only oil giant to defy analysts' expectations. It does expect long-term earnings to benefit from the reduction in U.S. federal corporate tax to 21% from 35%.

During the fourth quarter, BP re-started its share buyback programme to offset dilution related to its scrip dividend alternative.

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