†BP has more than doubled its pretax profits to $2.3bn (£1.5bn) for the first nine months of the year due to the soaring price of oil, although the company says it should not “obscure” the operational improvements it has made to its business.
The company also reported that net profit rose steeply by 147% to $10bn (£6.4bn), compared with $4bn (£2.6bn) a year ago, for the three months to September 30.
Tony Hayward, BP chief executive, says the results were attributable to the high cost of oil over the summer. He says: “Although it has since fallen sharply, the high oil price of the third quarter obviously helped our absolute result.”
He says that the company has also made “very real” operational improvements in refining and cost control across the company, which helped to keep its costs flat over the period.
BP’s profits come as petrol prices around the UK fell to under £1 a litre for the first time this year.
The company says that despite the pressures of the economic environment, it is confident it will be able to maintain profits for the remainder of the year.
Hayward says: “We are making good on our promise to deliver the strategy we laid out earlier this year – upstream growth, downstream turnaround and corporate simplification. We are well placed to weather the prevailing financial storm and to benefit from the business opportunities that may well arise from a downturn.”