OIL giant BP has been accused of “climate-wrecking profiteering” after revealing gains of £2 billion over the latest quarter.

The company said the performance took its total profits for the first half of 2023 to £5.9bn.

Despite profits falling by two-thirds compared to the same period last year, the firm said it will hand more cash to investors through higher dividends and a further share buyback.

The update comes a day after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak insisted he wants to “max out” developments in the North Sea during a trip to Scotland, sparking huge backlash from environmental campaigners.

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Scottish Greens climate spokesperson Mark Ruskell described the profits announced by BP as “shameless and climate-wrecking profiteering”.

He said: “We are on the verge of environmental breakdown but oil giants like BP are making billions of pounds of profit and cashing in every step of the way.

“If we are to have a sustainable future then we need to fundamentally change our energy system so that it works for people and the planet rather than polluters.

"Yet, at a time when we need to be investing in a green recovery, anti-climate governments like the one in Downing Street are doubling down on fossil fuels.”

“July was the world’s hottest month on record, but only yesterday we saw the Prime Minister announcing another 100 new oil and gas exploration licences.

“Rishi Sunak should be listening to the United Nations and the many scientists who are calling for an end to new fossil fuel exploration.

“Renewable energy is the cheapest and cleanest energy available. If we are to build a greener and better future then that is what we need to be investing in.”

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BP also announced that its North Sea business paid £755 million in tax over the half-year, with £358 million due to the energy profit levy windfall tax.

But Ruskell added: “A windfall tax full of loopholes is not good enough. We urgently need major investment in renewables and a just transition away from dirty and polluting industries.

“We are taking vital steps here in Scotland, but we are constantly being held back by a Tory Party that is more interested in maximising the profits of its friends in the oil and gas industry than it is with the future of our environment.”

BP blamed the decline in profits on planned maintenance work and lower margins in its refining business.

It comes a week after rival oil major Shell also delivered weaker-than-expected profits for its latest quarter.

Imogen Dow, warm homes lead at Friends of the Earth, said: “As BP reports its quarterly profits have fallen, let’s not forget that 2022 was its most profitable year on record, and that it’s still the beneficiary of massive tax breaks from the UK Government.

“Meanwhile, the drop in wholesale gas and oil prices is yet to make any material difference to the nation’s bills, which are projected to remain high for some time to come.

“This means millions more are likely to struggle through bitterly cold temperatures in homes they can’t afford to heat when winter rolls around.”

BP chief executive Bernard Looney said: “Another quarter of performing while transforming.

“Our underlying performance was resilient with good cash delivery during a period of significant turnaround activity and weaker margins in our refining business.

“We’re delivering our strategy at pace – we’ve started up two major oil and gas projects to help keep energy flowing today and we’re accelerating our transformation through our five transition growth engines.

“And we’re delivering for shareholders, growing our dividend and announcing a further share buyback.”