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BP net profits double since 2012, underlying profit slips

LONDON--BP's net profits more than doubled last year, compared with 2012 when it was hit by huge fines from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster, the group said on Tuesday, but underlying profit slipped.

Earnings after taxation jumped to US$23.451 billion last year, the British energy giant said in a statement.

That compared with US$11.017 billion in 2012.

However in the fourth quarter, or three months to December, net profits sank 30 percent to US$1.042 billion, due to a vast write-off from a failed well in offshore Brazil.

And BP added that adjusted net profit, stripping out fluctuations in the value of inventories and which is a better guide to underlying performance, plunged 21 percent to US$13.428 billion last year. This earnings measure fell 37 percent to US$2.8 billion in the fourth quarter.

“Both the fourth quarter and full year 2013 underlying results were affected by: the significant impact of BP's major divestment program; weaker refining margins; and higher depreciation and exploration write-offs as the group brought new projects online and increased its investment in exploration,” BP said in a statement.

“The impacts of these (factors) were partially offset by strong growth in underlying oil and gas production, particularly from key regions such as the North Sea, Angola and Gulf of Mexico,” BP said in the earnings release.

“The fourth quarter's result also benefited from higher earnings from Rosneft than reported from TNK-BP in the fourth quarter of 2012.”

BP added that the total cost of the catastrophic Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster in 2010 now stood at US$42.7 billion.

The company has been blighted by the fallout from a devastating blast on the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon drilling rig on April 20, 2010, which killed 11 people and unleashed some 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf.

The British firm, seeking to reposition itself after the disaster, agreed in 2012 to a massive strategic deal with the main Russian oil producer Rosneft.

As a result of the enormous deal, BP now holds a 19.75-percent stake in Rosneft.

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