BP announces £37m-a-day profits

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The Independent Online

BP today announced half-year profits of 13.44 billion US dollars (£6.75 billion) after the oil giant benefited from surging energy prices.

The profits - 23 per cent ahead of the same period last year - will add to anger among hauliers over soaring costs as millions of motorists also feel pain from rising forecourt prices.

The results were driven by the rocketing cost of crude oil over the period - finishing June at nearly 144 US dollars a barrel.

Union leaders have called for a windfall tax on the profits of both BP and fellow major Royal Dutch Shell.

"Many will find it hard to accept the continued huge profits being made," said Neil Greig, director of the Institute of Advanced Motorists Motoring Trust.

BP, however, says that it makes less than 1p in profit on every litre of petrol it sells at its 1,300 filling stations across the UK.

In response to calls for a windfall tax, the company adds that it paid 14.5 billion US dollars (£7.3 billion) in taxes worldwide last year - of which 2.33 billion dollars (£1.17 billion) was in the UK.





The half-year figure converts to a profits haul of £37 million a day, or £1.5 million an hour. In the second quarter, BP made profits of 6.85 billion US dollars (£3.44bn), an increase of 6 per cent on a year earlier.

The results were inflated by the company's performance in exploration and production, with profits ahead 51 per cent to 10.77 billion US dollars (£5.41bn) in the second quarter.

In refining and marketing, earnings for the three months to June 30 were down to 539 million US dollars (£271m) from 2.74 billion a year earlier.

It said higher energy costs continued to impact margins in the division.

Under chief executive Tony Hayward - who took over from "Sun King" Lord Browne last year - the group has been looking to boost the efficiency of its refineries.

Meanwhile, a row over its Russian joint venture TNK-BP is overshadowing the group.

TNK-BP chief executive Robert Dudley last week decided to leave Russia temporarily due to "sustained harassment" following an increasingly bitter dispute between the venture's Russian shareholders and BP management in the UK and has been running the business from a secret location.

But Charles Stanley analyst Tony Shepard said: "With these second quarter results, BP's operational improvements should start to come into focus for investors and more than outweigh the disappointing events surrounding TNK-BP."

Mr Hayward's stated aim is to close the gap on Shell after last year's profits tumbled by more than a fifth to 17.29 billion dollars (£8.76 billion) as problems with its US refineries continued to dog the business.

In February the company announced plans to cull 5,000 of its 97,000 employees in a bid to streamline the company - with 1,500 of its 16,000 UK staff set to leave by the middle of next year.

Tony Woodley, joint leader of Unite, said: "While ordinary people struggle to make ends meet, BP's boardroom is wading through knee deep profits.

"It is high time our government moved to stop the fuel corporates picking the pockets of the poor and needy.

"A windfall tax now would ensure the money was there to help the old and vulnerable through these tough times.

"Tax them now so that those who help create these mega profits share in them."

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