BP profit hits 14-year high

STORY: BP became the latest energy company to announce huge profits on Tuesday (August 2).

The company said it made a second quarter profit of just under $8.5 billion - its highest in 14 years.

The number was far beyond analyst expectations of $6.8 billion.

BP said the profits were driven by strong refining margins.

It also credited "exceptional" oil trading performance and higher fuel prices - although that was offset by weaker gas trading.

An outage at a major U.S. liquefied natural gas plant also weighed on profits.

BP brings the second quarter profit total for the top Western oil and gas companies to $59 billion.

Rivals like Exxon Mobil and Shell reported record earnings last week with help from soaring energy prices.

The bumper profits has put pressure on governments to impose new taxes on the sector to help consumers.

BP's performance helped boost its dividend share repurchases.

The firm raised its dividend 10% to around 6 cents per share.

It also increased its share repurchases plan for the current quarter to $3.5 billion.

Going forward, BP said it expected crude oil and gas prices to stay elevated in the third quarter.

BP shares were up over 4% in early trade.