The UK-based energy firm said that its operating cash flow in the quarter was $4.0bn, compared with $3.4bn in the first quarter of 2012.

BP Group chief executive Bob Dudley said the strong first quarter results demonstrate the company’s progress in delivering the performance milestones that support its 10-point plan and underpin the commitment to material operating cash flow growth by 2014.

"The early completion of the sale of our interest in TNK-BP has also allowed us to begin a share buy-back programme which we expect to return up to $8 billion to our shareholders and reflects the reduction in BP’s asset base following our divestment programme over the past three years," Dudley added.

"These results represent a strong start to 2013 across all of our businesses."

The company had bought back 120 million shares for a total amount of $834m, including fees and stamp duty as of 26 April.

BP is considering to retain the balance of the cash received from the TNK-BP transaction to reduce net debt as part of its commitment to maintain a strong balance sheet.

On 21 March 2013, BP completed the sale of its interest in TNK-BP to Rosneft, for a total consideration of $27.5bn in cash and Rosneft shares.