Oil price rally helps BP profits more than double

Oil giant BP has cheered one of the strongest years in the company's recent history after a hike in the cost of crude helped annual profits more than double.

The energy giant saw underlying replacement cost profit - BP's preferred income measure - soar to $6.2 billion (£4.4 billion) for 2017, up from $2.6 billion (£1.9 billion) the year before.

On a fourth-quarter basis, BP chalked up another rise at $2.1 billion (£1.5 billion), climbing from $400 million (£286.2 million) over the same three-month period in 2016

BP is among a string of oil majors benefiting from climbing prices, having seen Brent crude hit $70 per barrel last month - its highest level in more than three years.

Group chief executive Bob Dudley said: "2017 was one of the strongest years in BP's recent history.

"We delivered operationally and financially, with very strong earnings in the downstream, upstream production up 12%, and our finances rebalanced.

"We enter the second year of our five-year plan with real momentum, increasingly confident that we can continue to deliver growth across our business, improving cash flows and returns for shareholders out to 2021 and beyond."