BP announced plans to boost spending and increase returns to shareholders in 2022 after more than doubling profits to nearly $28 billion, the highest annual earnings in the company’s 114-year history.
The group’s underlying profit for the past year was $27.7bn, eclipsing the $26.3bn it made in 2008, and more than doubling the $12.8bn reported after a strong 2021.
Underlying profit for the final three months of the year was $4.8bn, up from $3.3bn a year earlier but just below analysts’ average estimate of $5bn.
In response, BP increased its dividend by 10 percent for the fourth quarter and announced plans to buy back another $2.75 billion in shares.
Capital expenditure in 2022 was $16.3 billion. This year it plans to spend $16bn to $18bn, an increase from its previous target of $14bn to 16bn per year by 2025.
Chief executive Bernard Looney said: “It is more clear than ever after the past three years that the world wants and needs low-carbon energy, along with safe and affordable energy.”
BP is in the midst of a strategic overhaul after previously committing to cut oil and gas production by 40 percent by 2030 and produce an additional 50 gigawatts of renewable energy.
But in what would be seen as a major U-turn, BP scaled down its plans to cut production, indicating that output was now expected to be reduced by only 25 percent in 2030.
The group said it would spend $8 billion more on its “transition” businesses between now and 2030 than previously planned, but would also increase its oil and gas investments by the same amount.
In oil and gas, BP will target “short-cycle rapid-return opportunities with low additional operational emissions”.