British gas producer BG Group beat expectations with a 5% fall in first quarter net profits to $960m.

BG said underlying profits rose 13% to $1.12bn in the quarter compared with the same period in 2009, beating an average forecast of $972m from a company poll of analysts.

Production rose 6% in the quarter compared with the first three months of 2009 to 61.3 million barrels of oil equivalent.

The slow economic recovery and a surge in domestic gas production in the USA due to the increased exploitation of shale gas has weighed on the gas market, especially demand for cargos of LNG, reports Reuters.

Analysts have still said all BG divisions have outperformed expectations and called the shares to open higher. One dealer predicted the shares would open 1-2% higher, according to Reuters.