BG Group saw earnings double in the first quarter, thanks to high gas prices and volumes.
BG - the former exploration arm of British Gas - seized upon higher prices in Japan and Europe to redirect twothirds of its 40 cargoes carry-ing liquified natural gas (LNG) to these regions in the first quarter.
This ensured that operating profits of £138 million from its LNG business topped guidance of £130 million provided by the company at the start of last month. The figure was four times higher than the corresponding period of 2005.
In a statement, BG also assured investors that it would not be hit hard by the decision of Bolivian president Evo Morales to nationalise the oil and gas industry from Monday.
While it was reviewing the new decree and developments in Bolivia, BG said its invest-ment in the South American country represented less than two per cent of its capital and less than four per cent of its proved reserves.
BG posted total operating profits of £982 million for the quarter - up from £460 million a year ago - as it capitalised on high market prices of oil and gas and produced 28 per cent more fuel than a year earlier. Earnings of £578 million contrasted with £259 million at the same stage of 2005.
During the quarter, the average gas price in the UK was 38.8p per therm - more than double the cost of gas internationally.
The surge in gas prices has highlighted the importance of LNG to the UK, as suppliers look to source product from further afield to reduce reliance on the more volatile European energy market.
The product is chilled and converted to a liquid before being transported.