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LONDON -- BP plc this morning began what will be a wave of petroleum company earnings reports this week by announcing that increased oil prices resulted in the company more than doubling its fiscal third-quarter net profit compared to the same period a year ago.
The petroleum giant said it earned $4.9 billion for its latest quarter, compared to $1.8 billion during its fiscal 2010 third quarter. Revenues also rose 31 percent to $97.6 billion.
BP CEO Bob Dudley said the past year has seen unprecedented challenges, most notably its Gulf of Mexico oil spill. However, he added that BP has responded well to the challenges and laid firm foundations for the future.
"BP was severely tested by the Deepwater Horizon [Gulf of Mexico] accident," Dudley said in a company news release. "It is now over a year since the well was finally sealed and we have continued to respond with a strong sense of corporate responsibility. I believe we are living up to our commitments in the Gulf; learning, applying and sharing the lessons of the accident; restructuring BP and putting safety and risk management at the absolute heart of our operations. This will further de-risk the firm."
BP is facing hundreds of lawsuits following the accident. The company said it has reached agreements on two major ones with Anadarko Petroleum and MOEX.
Despite ongoing litigation, Dudley said BP's third-quarter net profit tells a great story about the company's future. "We have now reached a definite turning point," he said. "Our operations are regaining momentum and we are facing the future with great confidence. I believe we will build on our strengths to substantially grow operating cash flows, allowing us to directly increase returns to shareholders, as well as invest for future growth."
As for the future, Dudley said BP expects to double its exploration investments. He also anticipates BP will double its cash flow by about 50 percent by 2014, based upon an assumption of $100-per-barrel oil.