Profit adjusted for one-time items and inventory changes rose to $1.51 billion from $532 million a year earlier, the company said Tuesday in a regulatory filing. That exceeded the $1.21 billion average estimate of 12 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
The earnings beat should ease investor concern about BP’s ability to maintain the dividend without increasing debt. The company’s stock has been the worst performer among Europe’s oil majors this year. After Chief Executive Officer Bob Dudley cut billions of dollars of spending, deferred projects and drew a line under payments related to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, he is now starting to think of growth again with acquisitions amid rising crude prices.
Exxon Mobil Corp., the world’s biggest oil company by market value, Chevron Corp. and Total SA all reported quarterly earnings that surpassed analyst estimates last week. Royal Dutch Shell Plc is scheduled to report May 4.
BP’s shares have fallen 13 percent in London this year, as have Shell’s B shares. Total has declined 3.2 percent. BP rose 44 percent last year, the first annual gain in three.
Brent crude, the benchmark used to price more than half the world’s oil, averaged $54.61 a barrel in the first quarter, 55 percent more than a year earlier and the highest in more than two years. Prices are down 9.6 percent this year as global supplies remain high despite the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and some other nations including Russia cutting production.