BP has unveiled the clearest sign yet that the oil major is  emerging from the gloom of the Deepwater horizon disaster and the global market downturn, with a $6.2bn (£4.4bn) profit boom for 2017.

The FTSE 100 energy giant’s better than expected full-year results revealed strong operating cash flows, which were driven higher by the recovery in global oil prices and a 12pc growth in BP’s oil and gas business.

BP made $6.2bn in replacement cost profits, its standard measure of profitability, for the full year compared to just $2.6bn in 2016 when oil prices were at their lowest ebb. In the final quarter of last year alone BP made $2.1bn, up from just $400m in the last quarter of 2016.