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BP's Q4 profits down to US$3.98bn


Oil giant expects 4 new projects to begin production by end-2013

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Oil giant BP said its fourth quarter net profit, adjusted for non-operating items, currency and accounting effects, fell to US$3.98 billion (£2.5 billion) from US$4.98 billion recorded over the corresponding quarter last year.

With a legal battle related to the Gulf of Mexico spill being imminent, the company said on Tuesday that the dip in profits was mainly as a result of asset sales to pay for its spill liabilities. BP has sold US$37.8 billion worth of assets since the oil spill and taken a total charge against profits of US$42.2 billion; bulk of which has already been paid out.

In October, BP agreed to sell its 50 percent stake in TNK-BP to the Russian state-owned energy company Rosneft in return for cash and shares. A trial that is due to begin on February 25.

BP’s organic capital expenditure would be US$24-$25 billion in 2013, up from US$23 billion in 2012.

Elsewhere in its update, the company said it expects four new major upstream projects to begin production by the end of 2013. These include the Angola LNG, North Rankin 2 (Australia), Na Kika 3 (Gulf of Mexico), and Chirag Oil project (Azerbaijan).

Furthermore, it expects an additional six projects to come onstream through 2014.

The company also said its downstream business performed well. It added that a major upgrade of the Whiting refinery in Indiana,US is expected to come onstream in the second half of this year.

"We have moved past many milestones in 2012, repositioning BP through divestments and bringing on new projects. This lays a solid foundation for growth into the long term," said BP chief executive Bob Dudley.

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BP's Q4 profits down to US$3.98bn
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