BP says net profits rocket 175% to $4.9bln in Q3

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British energy giant BP said Tuesday that net profits rocketed by 175 percent in the third quarter of 2011, as it continued to recover from last year's devastating Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster.

BP added that it will seek to sell another $15 billion of non-core assets by the end of 2013, expanding its divestment programme as the group seeks to recoup its huge costs linked to the catastrophe.

And the group said it had reached a "definite turning point" after a disastrous 2010.

Earnings after taxation hit US$4.907 billion (3.52 billion euros) in the three months to September, BP said in a results statement, driven by a strong performance from exploration and production. That compared with $1.785 billion in the same part of last year.

Production fell by 12 percent to 3.319 million barrels in the third quarter due to the suspension of production in the Gulf, though BP expects production to be higher in the current fourth quarter.

BP, which was ravaged by last year's catastophic spill, added that net profits struck $17.65 billion in the nine months to September. That compared with a loss of $9.29 billion in the same portion of 2010.

Adjusted profits -- stripping out the impact of changes in the value of inventories -- hit $5.14 billion in the third quarter, compared with $1.847 billion last time around.

And on a nine-month comparison, adjusted profits hit $15.930 billion, which contrasted sharply with a loss of $9.528 billion last year.

"The financial picture for BP today is very different from a year ago," said BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley in an accompanying statement.

"We are today reporting replacement cost profits for the first nine months of this year of $15.9 billion, compared to a $9.5 billion loss for the same period in 2010, which was driven by the $40-billion charges we had taken with respect to Gulf of Mexico spill related costs."

Dudley, who was under pressure after the collapse of an Arctic exploration deal with Russian state firm Rosneft, also unveiled an increase in BP's divestment programme from $30 billion to $45 billion.

© 2011 AFP

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