LONDON (Reuters) – BP reported a fourth-quarter profit of $3 billion (2.8 billion euros) on Tuesday, beating forecasts, as the British oil major increased the pace of its buybacks. actions.

On the London Stock Exchange, BP shares climbed 5.7% in the morning and led the entire oil sector in Europe (+1.85%).

The quarterly results took BP’s 2023 profit to $13.8 billion, a 50% drop from a year earlier, due to falling oil and gas prices and weakening refining profit margins.

The strong fourth-quarter profit comes after two consecutive quarters well below forecasts.

BP maintained its dividend at 7.27 cents per share and increased the rate of its share buyback program to $1.75 billion over the next three months, up from $1.5 billion in the previous three months. previous ones.

The company said it is committed to repurchasing $3.5 billion worth of shares in the first half of 2024.

BP’s fourth-quarter underlying replacement cost profit, which is the company’s net profit, reached $2.99 ​​billion, beating the group’s consensus forecast of $2.77 billion.

This figure compares to the $3.3 billion in profits recorded in the third quarter and the $4.8 billion recorded a year earlier.

BP said the quarterly results reflected strong gas trading results, rising oil and gas prices, however offset by “significantly lower” refining margins, weak oil trading and asset write-downs. related to exploration.

Last week, the company’s rivals Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Shell beat profit expectations thanks to a combination of strong business results and higher oil and gas revenues. TotalEnergies will publish its quarterly accounts on Wednesday.

(Reporting Ron Bousso; Stéphanie Hamel)

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