BP has more than doubled first quarter profits to $6.2 billion (£5bn) from $2.6bn in a development that has fuelled renewed calls for a windfall tax on firms operating in the North Sea.

The results underline the scale of the benefit that firms have enjoyed following the surge in oil and gas prices that has been fuelled by the recovery from the pandemic and the fallout from the war in Ukraine.

The price increases have left millions of consumers in the UK facing huge increases in their energy bills.

“The government has to intervene,” said Greenpeace. “Just this weekend the Italian Prime Minister announced a windfall tax on bloated energy company profits to help vulnerable families, Boris Johnson must do the same.”

BP chief executive Bernard Looney said in a quarter dominated by the tragic events in Ukraine and volatility in energy markets, the group's focus had been on supplying the reliable energy its customers need.

HeraldScotland: BP chief executive Bernard Looney Picture: BPBP chief executive Bernard Looney Picture: BP

He added:" BP continues to perform and step-by-step we are making progress executing our IEC (Integrated Energy Company) strategy - producing resilient hydrocarbons to provide energy security while investing with discipline in the energy transition."

The Rystad Energy consultancy said the world’s leading oil and gas firms are on track to shatter previous records in terms of profits this year.

Rystad’s research suggests companies listed on stock markets around the world will generate $834bn cash from their operations net of costs, up 70% from $493bn in 2021.

Total free cash flow generation fell to $126bn in 2020 after the pandemic triggered a slump in the industry.