The energy giant, Bp Plc- British oil and gas company headquartered in London, England stated an underlying earnings of $6.2bn (£4.9bn) as compared to $2.6bn in the same duration last year – ahead of expectations.
BP stated the increase was due in part to “splendid oil and fueloline trading”.
Rising earnings have prompted calls for a one-off windfall tax on power groups to assist UK families grappling with growing bills.
UK inflation is presently at its highest fee for 30 years, lifted through the growing fee of oil and fueloline which has inflated gasoline costs in addition to the fee of household energy.
Labour chief Sir Keir Starmer advised the newsmen that BP’s earnings – which beat analysts’ expectancies of $4.5bn – “reinforce the case that we’ve been making which is that, with so many people suffering to pay their power bills, we need to have a windfall tax on oil and fueloline companies in the North Sea who’ve made extra profit than they had been expecting”.
But Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated a windfall tax would abate funding and keep oil prices higher over the long term.
He told ITV: “If you put a windfall tax at the energy companies, what that means is that you discourage them from making the investments that we need to see that will, in the end, keep energy prices lower for everybody.”
Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey said energy companies should “pay a little more to help the most vulnerable”.
“The Conservative government’s refusal to introduce a windfall tax on the super profits of oil companies is becoming impossible to justify,” he said. “BP is raking in eye-watering profits while millions of people struggle to pay the bills.”
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has previously said he would explore a windfall tax policy if companies did not invest enough in the UK’s energy supply.
On Tuesday, BP announced plans to invest £18bn in green and fossil fuel operations in the UK by the end of the decade.
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell said it was “no surprise” to hear BP pledging billions of pounds worth of investment in projects to boost domestic energy security.
“Whether this will be enough to stave off a new levy remains to be seen. The political pressure to do so is only likely to escalate as the cost of living continues to surge in the UK,” he said.
Nick Butler, a former vice president at BP, told the BBC’s Today programme it was possible the government would impose a greater tax burden on the energy giant.
The visiting professor at Kings College London said: “I think the company can answer that by showing that they are actually contributing to energy security.”
BP said it had taken a $24.4bn hit on its decision to exit its shareholding in Russian energy giant Rosneft following the Kremlin’s assault on Ukraine.
Including the cost of exiting its 19.75% shareholding in Rosneft, BP reported a loss of $20.3bn for the first quarter.
“In a quarter dominated by the tragic events in Ukraine and volatility in energy markets, BP’s focus has been on supplying the reliable energy our customers need,” said BP chief executive Bernard Looney.
Looney said the oil market would continue to be volatile and he did not expect “any let off on prices any time soon”.
BP’s profits have been driven by a sharp rise in oil prices, initially led by increased demand as economies reopened following Covid lockdowns. Last November, Mr Looney described the energy market as “a cash machine”.
Oil prices rose further after war broke out in Ukraine and western countries imposed sanctions on Russia following its invasion. Russia is the second biggest exporter of crude oil, and is also the world’s largest natural gas exporter.
Announcing its results, BP also said it would buy back another $2.5bn of its shares, and reduce its net debt further.
Rival energy giant Shell is scheduled to report its results for the first quarter of the year on Thursday.