BP reports very strong earnings

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Oil major beat earnings expectations on Tuesday, highlighting a surge in refining and trading during the final three months of 2017.

Underlying replacement cost profit for 2017 in the Upstream division was USD5.87 billion, a huge improvement on the previous year's USD542.0 million loss.

"Debt's in a pretty good place", dropping by about $2 billion last quarter following $4.3 billion of asset sales for the year, Gilvary said. BP shares fell 1.3 percent to 476 pence at 12:06 p.m.in London as a broader rout in equity markets continued.

The news comes one week after Anglo-Dutch rival Royal Dutch Shell announced an annual profit of $13 billion, also energised by rising oil and gas prices.

Overall profit for the full year was USD3.39 billion compared to USD115.0 million in 2016.

"The company is operating and firing on all cylinders", Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley said in an interview with Bloomberg television.

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"We delivered operationally and financially, with very strong earnings in the Downstream, Upstream production up 12%, and our finances rebalanced. And we did all this while maintaining safe and reliable operations", the CEO said. "We are entering the second year of our five-year plan with a real impetus, more and more confident that we can continue to grow", added he.

In 2017, BP managed to cover the costs and pay full dividends at oil prices of 50 United States dollars per barrel.

Excluding its share of Russia's Rosneft, BP pumped 2.581 million barrels a day in the fourth quarter, up from 2.186 million barrels a day a year earlier. Last week, the oil giant hadannounced that it hoped to double North Sea oil production to 200,000 barrels by 2020.

"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. The company a year ago announced six discoveries, for a cumulative total of 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent, its largest since 2004.

"The full-year underlying result was more than double a year earlier, our organic cash flows are back in balance and our financial frame remains resilient". Gulf of Mexico oil spill payments in 2017 were $5.2 billion, compared with $6.9 billion in 2016. Since the explosion and oil spill, in April 2010, BP has paid out USD65.77 billion.