- BP reported a slide in profits in the first quarter of the year, as lower oil prices and narrower refining margins weighed on performance. The oil major also said it expected flat output growth in the second quarter.

BP reported underlying profits on a replacement cost (RC) basis -- a closely watched measure to gauge performance -- of $2.4bn for first three months of the year, compared with $2.6bn for the same period a year earlier. That was slightly ahead of its consensus forecasts for underlying RC profit of $2.3bn.

'The result for the first quarter mainly reflected lower liquids realizations and the impact of turnaround activities in the US Gulf of Mexico,' the oil major said.

Oil and gas production for the quarter was 3.8m barrels of oil a day, 2.4% higher than the first quarter of 2018,

Upstream production, which excluded the company's share of Rosneft output, rose 2% for the quarter from a year ago, due to acquisition of the BHP assets and growth of major projects, the company said.

Upstream profit fell to $2.9bn from $3.16bn a year earlier.

BP generated proceeds of $0.6bn from selling assets during the quarter, up from $0.2bn of sales seen in the same period a year earlier.

The dividend was increased 2.5% to 10.25 cents per share.

The oil major maintained expectations for 2019 organic capital expenditure in the range of $15-17bn.

Looking ahead, 'we expect second-quarter 2019 reported production to be broadly flat with the first quarter reflecting ramp up of major projects offset by ongoing seasonal turnaround and maintenance activities in high margin regions,' the company said.

'BP's performance this quarter demonstrates the strength of our strategy. With solid Upstream and Downstream delivery and strong trading results, we produced resilient earnings and cash flow through a volatile period that began with weak market conditions and included significant turnarounds,' said Bob Dudley - Group chief executive.

Story provided by