BP Profit Hit By Gulf Of Mexico Settlement

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BP (LSE: BP.L - news) has set aside a further $4.1bn (£2.6bn) in relation to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, as it reported a fall in profit.

It takes the company's total cost of the explosion at the Deepwater Horizon rig in April 2010 to $42.2bn (£26.8bn).

To pay for liabilities relating to the disaster, BP has sold $37.8bn (£24bn) worth of assets since the incident.

Earlier this month, the oil giant agreed to plead guilty to manslaughter over its role in the incident - which resulted in the deaths of 11 workers - and pay $4.5bn (£2.9bn) in a record criminal settlement.

A separate, civil trial in the US is expected to begin on February 25.

The company reported an 18% fall in its underlying replacement cost profit to $17.6bn (£11.1bn) last year.

In the fourth quarter, its profit was $3.9bn (£2.5bn) - a drop of more than 20% when compared to the same period in 2011.

But these results were stronger than some analysts expected, boosted by a record performance at its refining business.

Chief executive Bob Dudley said: "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.

"Moving through 2013 we will deliver further operational milestones and remain on track for delivery of our ten-point strategic plan, including our target for operating cash flow growth, by 2014."

The company announced a quarterly dividend of 9 cents (around six pence) a share, to be paid in March. 

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