BG back in black despite oil price pressure

BG chief Helge Lund hailed an 'excellent operational performance'BG chief Helge Lund hailed an 'excellent operational performance'
BG chief Helge Lund hailed an 'excellent operational performance'
Oil and gas exploration firm BG Group has guided the business back into the black despite continued pressure from tumbling oil prices.

The company – which is in the final stages of a takeover by oil giant Shell – drove home a full-year pre-tax profit of $3 billion (£2bn) for 2015, turning around from a $2.3bn pre-tax loss the year before.

BG stepped up its financial performance after narrowing pre-tax losses in the fourth quarter to $1.2bn, compared to an $8.3bn loss for the same period in 2014.

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The group’s performance has been significantly impacted by the plunging oil price, which has fallen nearly 70 per cent since its peak in the summer of 2014. It is on the verge of being taken over by Shell in a £34 billion deal after shareholders at both companies gave the green light to the tie-up.

Shell yesterday insisted its tie-up with BG heralded the start of a “new chapter” as it saw annual profits crash by 80 per cent. The oil giant saw full-year earnings tumble to $3.8bn in 2015 after it was hammered by the collapse in oil prices.

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BG chief executive Helge Lund said the company had delivered an “excellent operational performance” last year, which had both met and exceeded expectations.

He said that the firm would deliver a “high performing business into the combination with Shell”.

Exploration and production was up 20 per cent in the fourth quarter to 757,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed) compared to the same quarter in 2014. The boost was driven by growth in Australia, Brazil, and Norway.

Production in the UK rose 33 per cent to 109,000 boed over the same period, with full-year production for the whole group beating expectations at 704,000 boed.

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