Oil and gas giant BG Group's first quarter net earnings were sharply up on last year, with the group promising more growth to come as new production comes on stream.
Total operating profit in the first quarter was up 21% to $2.37bn from $1.97bn a year earlier. Net earnings rose by 55% to $1.27bn from a restated $819m the year before. Broker Charles Stanley had forecast first quarter net income of $1.3bn.
Earnings per share rose in line with net income to 37.3 cents from 24.2 cents in the first quarter of 2011. The group does not pay quarterly dividends.
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"Our exploration and production business delivered a 5% increase in volumes and total operating profit for our LNG [liquefied natural gas] business was up 42% to $812m, boosted by continuing strong demand from Asian markets," noted BG's Chief Executive, Sir Frank Chapman.
Commenting on the oil spill in the UK North Sea at the Elgin field, Chapman said the group is continuing to work closely with French oil group Total, which is the operator of the field, to ensure the issued is resolved in a safe and timely manner. BG has a 14.11% stake in the Elgin asset.
In conclusion, Sir Frank said, "BG Group has delivered significantly stronger financial results in the first quarter and with new production coming on-stream, further progress on our major projects, and continued exploration success, we remain firmly on track to achieve our long-term objectives."
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