BP profit soars on strong oil, gas trading as buybacks loom

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LONDON (Reuters) -BP’s profit soared in the first quarter to $2.6 billion thanks to stronger oil prices and bumper revenue from natural gas trading as the energy company said it intends to resume share buybacks in the third quarter.

BP’s net debt dropped by $5.6 billoin to $33.3 billion at the end of March thanks to around $4.8 billion in disposals proceed and stronger oil prices.

That pushed debt below the company’s $35 billion target sooner than expected, paving the way for it to deliver on its promise of buying back shares.

BP’s first-quarter underlying replacement cost profit, the company’s definition of net income, reached $2.6 billion, far exceeding forecasts of a $1.64 billion profit in a company-provided survey of analysts.

That compared with a $110 million profit in the fourth quarter of 2020 and a profit of $790 million a year earlier.

“This result was driven by an exceptional gas marketing and trading performance, significantly higher oil prices and higher refining margins.”

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