BP, the first of the major oil companies to report earnings this week, said Tuesday that it had lost $583 million in the first quarter of 2016, compared with a $2.6 billion profit in the same period last year.
Lower oil prices were behind the loss for BP, whose results were nonetheless better than analysts had expected. However the company said it would not cut its dividend.
BP said it had lost $1.2 billion in its key oil and gas exploration and production unit, which was a big money earner when prices were high. Oil prices for the quarter averaged $34 a barrel for Brent crude, more than a third lower than a year earlier.
“The entire industry is going to be loss-making in the first quarter,” Oswald Clint, an analyst at Bernstein Research in London, wrote in an email.
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