BP on Tuesday reported an $86 million profit for the third quarter. The earnings, calculated on “underlying replacement cost,” most closely watched by financial analysts, were a big improvement on the $6.7 billion reported loss for the second quarter, when oil prices and demand were slammed by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Analysts said the results were good considering the grim environment in which the pandemic continues to weigh on demand for BP’s products, especially jet fuel for air travel. BP said that recovering oil and gas prices helped the results.
“This is a solid result in a challenging environment,” Stuart Joyner, an analyst at the market research firm Redburn, wrote in a note to clients.
Bernard Looney, who became chief executive of BP earlier this year, has embarked on a makeover of the oil giant, saying he will gradually reduce BP’s dependence on fossil fuels like oil and gas and boost clean energy like wind, solar and hydrogen.
On a call with analysts Tuesday, Mr. Looney said he had felt when he took over, BP was “out of step” with parts of society, its own employees and many shareholders.
“It is very hard to be a long-term, successful company when you are out of step,” he said.
So far investors seem to remain skeptical that BP and other oil companies can make the transition to clean energy. BP’s share price has been hovering near quarter century lows.