BP reported a third-quarter underlying profit of $3.3 billion, compared with a profit of $2.8 billion for the previous quarter and just $89 million in the corresponding period of 2020.

The improvement was driven by higher oil and gas realisations in an environment of rising prices.

However, a $6.1 billion tax charge caused the company to post a net loss of $2.5 billion for the third quarter of 2021, on an unadjusted basis, compared with a $3.1 billion net gain in the second quarter.

Buyback time

BP also received $5.4 billion from divestments and other proceeds in the first nine months of 2021 and stated that it will carry out another $1.25 billion buyback on the back of the latest results.

This follows on from a $2.4 billion buyback realised after second quarter results.

BP net debt fell to $32.0 billion at the end of the third quarter, compared to $33 billion at the end of the second quarter.

For the third quarter, BP has already announced a dividend of 5.46 cents per ordinary share payable in the fourth quarter.

The company stated: “On average, based on bp’s current forecasts, at around $60 per barrel Brent and subject to the board’s discretion each quarter, bp continues to expect to be able to deliver buybacks of around $1.0 billion per quarter and have capacity for an annual increase in the dividend per ordinary share of around 4% through 2025.”

On the production side, BP said it had hit its target of bringing online 900,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day of new production by 2021 with a net increase of 4% relative to the second quarter.

The company highlighted recent start-ups on on the Matapal project offshore Trinidad and the Thunder Horse South Expansion Phase 2 in the Gulf of Mexico.

BP underlined its commitment to energy transition, stating that confidence in a 2025 target of 20 gigawatts of capacity in developed renewables was strengthened by the adding of a further 2GW to the renewables pipeline and boosting development targets for the company’s Lightsource bp unit.

BP chief executive Bernard Looney stated: “This has been another good quarter for bp - our businesses are generating strong underlying earnings and cash flow while maintaining their focus on safe and reliable operations.

“Rising commodity prices certainly helped, but I am most pleased that, quarter by quarter, we’re doing what we said we would – delivering significant cash to strengthen our finances, grow distributions to shareholders, and invest in our strategic transformation.”

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