Oil giant BP has delivered a better-than-expected set of quarterly results, boosted by an increase in high-margin production.
The group, which has racked up $42.2 billion (£27.2bn) in costs relating to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster, said production from higher-margin areas such as Angola and the North Sea rose 4 per cent compared with the final quarter of last year.
Although the sale of some production assets meant underlying profits for the first three months of 2013 fell to $4.2bn, down from $4.7bn a year ago, the figure beat analysts’ expectations of about $3.3bn.
Chief executive Bob Dudley said: “These strong first-quarter results demonstrate the progress BP is making.”
Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Keith Bowman said: “Following a disastrous 2010, BP remains a company undergoing significant change within the shadow of major legal cost uncertainty.”
BP revealed yesterday that more than 2,200 civil lawsuits relating to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill have been filed in recent weeks as individuals, companies and government bodies rushed to beat a deadline.
The Deepwater explosion on 20 April 2010 killed 11 people. The United States Oil Pollution Act of 1990, under which most of the new lawsuits were registered, has a three-year statute of limitations, which could make bringing further legal action difficult after the third anniversary of the disaster.
BP gave shareholders a boost in March by announcing plans to buy back $8bn of shares using some of the proceeds from the sale of its stake in the Russian joint venture TNK-BP to Rosneft.