BP's North Sea Headquarters is seen in Aberdeen
BP has outlined plans to reduce spending amid climate of lower oil pricesReuters

Oil major BP reported a sharp fall in profit to $2.13bn (£1.39bn, €1.96bn) for the first three months of 2015, after global oil prices tumbled last summer.

The energy giant had posted $3.5bn profits in the same period in the previous year.

While oil prices have rebounded in recent months, they remain around half the level that they reached in June 2014.

Brent crude was trading at $64 a barrel on Tuesday morning in London, while American WTI Crude was trading around $56 a barrel.

Despite the dramatic fall in profits, the BP results actually beat many analysts' forecasts. The company reported better-than-expected earnings from refining and trading, which helped to offset the lower oil price.

Its share price rose as much as 1.5% in early morning trading on the FTSE 100.

BP's chief executive Bob Dudley said the quarterly results reflected the "weaker environment and the actions we are taking in response."

Dudley said he was preparing the company for a period of lower oil prices, by cutting spending and reviewing new projects.

"We are resetting and re-balancing BP to meet the challenges of a possible period of sustained lower prices," Dudley said in the statement. "The dividend is the first priority within our financial framework."

BP is the first of the major global oil companies to report earnings for the first quarter of 2015. Both Shell and Exxon Mobil will report earnings on Thursday.