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BP shares surge on $1.75bn buyback despite 2023 profit slump

(Sharecast News) - Shares in BP surged on Tuesday as the energy giant announced a $1.75bn share buyback despite a slump in annual profits as oil prices fell during 2023 from the spike caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Full--year underlying replacement cost profit - the company's preferred earnings measure - halved to $13.8bn from $27.6bn a year earlier. Looking ahead, BP expects first quarter 2024 reported upstream production to be higher compared to the final three months of the 2023.

Fourth-quarter profits beat estimates, coming in at $3bn, although well down on 2023's $4.8bn, it was better than the $2.77bn in its own compilation of consensus forecasts. That compared with a $3.3bn profit in the third quarter and $4.8bn a year earlier.

Quarterly results reflected strong gas trading results and higher oil and gas prices which were still hit by "significantly lower" refining margins, weak oil trading and exploration impairments.

Energy firms made bumper profits when oil and gas prices surged after Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and sparked fears over supplies. The price of benchmark Brent crude oil hit nearly $128 a barrel soon after the invasion, but is now below $80.

BP maintained its quarterly dividend at 7.27 cents per share and upped the level of share buybacks from $1.5bn in the previous three months. It also committed to repurchasing $3.5bn of shares in the first half of 2024.

The results are the first released by BP since the company appointed Murray Auchincloss as its new chief executive after his predecessor Bernard Looney, resigned last September after admitting he had not been "fully transparent" about his past personal relationships at the firm.

The board said Looney had committed "serious misconduct", resulting in him forfeiting up to £32.4m in remuneration.

Reporting by Frank Prenesti for

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