Shares in London's oil majors, BP (BP.) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB), both ticked up on the publication of first-quarter results last week. The filings were also accompanied by glowing news headlines focusing on the "surge" in profits. This was understandable. BP's replacement cost profit - its preferred measure of profitability - hit $1.4bn (£1.1bn), against a loss of $485m in the first quarter of 2016. Two days later, Shell posted an even better profit leap, with the $3.4bn in earnings in the first three months of 2017 more than four times the comparative figure a year ago, and triple the final quarter of 2016.
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