BP back in balance even if oil moves back toward $50 per barrel

Company's equivalent figure for net income is about twice as high as it was last year.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  Oct. 31, 2017 at 9:46 AM
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Oct. 31 (UPI) -- There are clear signs the market is back on solid ground and adjusting to historically lower, but recovering, crude oil prices, BP said.

"We have made strong progress this year in adjusting to the lower oil price environment and have now brought our finances, including the full dividend, back into organic balance at an oil price just below $50 a barrel," Chief Financial Officer Brian Gilvary said in a statement.

The price for Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, was around $60 per barrel in early Tuesday trading, holding firm at its highest level in years. Gilvary said Tuesday the company would start buying back shares during the fourth quarter and the company said its $1.87 billion for the equivalent of net income was roughly twice as high as it was last year.

RBC Capital Markets said in an emailed statement Monday it was expecting BP would be "one of the potential winners this quarter" given its lack of disruptions and lower charges from the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

In August, when Brent was trading around $52 per barrel, CEO Bob Dudley said the company was positioned for the "new oil price environment." In this new environment, BP reported oil and gas production for the third quarter was 13 percent higher than third quarter 2016 and three new projects started up since Dudley made his statement after the second quarter.

Six out of seven projects the company said it would start up this year are in production and the last one, the Zohr natural gas project offshore Egypt, is on pace to begin operations by the end of the year. In September, the company signed up to extend its production sharing agreement for oil fields in the deep Azeri waters in the Caspian Sea for another 25 years.

"Looking ahead, we expect fourth-quarter reported production to be higher than the third quarter reflecting the continued ramp-up of major projects and recovery from seasonal turnaround and maintenance activities," the company said.

Spending during the third quarter, meanwhile, was up 14 percent from the same period to $4 billion. Spending over the first nine months of the year was up 2.5 percent to $12.2 billion.

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