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Volatile markets batter majors' numbers, especially BP

Volatile oil and gas prices dented earnings for the industry’s major players in the second quarter, with British supermajor BP reporting the worst of a set of disappointing results

Benchmark Brent crude futures fluctuated over the quarter and ended well down. In April, futures traded at more than $120 a barrel, before falling 25% to around $90/b by mid-June. In late July, Brent was trading at $106/b. US gas prices started the second quarter at $1.90/million British thermal units (Btu) – the lowest in a decade – although prices rose to $2.75/m Btu by the end of June. Henry Hub front-month gas contracts have continued to rise, reaching $3/m Btu. US supermajor ExxonMobil was the first of the majors to report, booking a 49% year-on-year rise in profit, from $10.7 billion to $15.9bn. However, once a $7.5bn gain from divestments and tax-related items was stripped out, earni

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