Russia helps BP to increase output by 11%

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The Independent Online

BP drove home its lead over the rival oil major Shell yesterday by reporting an 11 per cent rise in production in the third quarter to just under 3.9 million barrels a day.

BP drove home its lead over the rival oil major Shell yesterday by reporting an 11 per cent rise in production in the third quarter to just under 3.9 million barrels a day.

BP, under its chief executive Lord Browne now the world's second-biggest oil group, also reiterated guidance that production this year would rise by 10 per cent to more than four million barrels a day. The forecast is in stark contrast to Shell's most recent estimates which assume that oil and gas output will remain flat for the next five years at about 3.8 million barrels a day.

BP said output in the quarter just ended was expected to be 3.88 million barrels compared with 3.5 million barrels in the same period last year. This sets the scene for a bumper set of third-quarter results, with analysts expecting the combination of increased production and higher oil prices to produce record profits of almost $4.3bn for the June-September period. Production during the quarter was helped by a 36 per cent rise in output from BP's Russian joint venture TNK-BP. The fall in non-Russian production was attributed partly to Hurricane Ivan, which hit output from the Gulf of Mexico, and a fire at one of BP's Egyptian platforms.

BP also reported a sharp rise in refining margins to $6.2, adding that every dollar increase in the oil price would add $1.12bn to profits.

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