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BBC News: BP annual profits fall by a fifth

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BP’s chief executive Lord Browne resigned in May

Tuesday, 5 February 2008, 07:49 GMT  

The oil giant BP has reported a big fall in profits at the end of a tough year for the company.

It still managed to achieve replacement cost profits of $17.29bn (£8.76bn), but that was 22% below its 2006 level.

Despite the rising price of oil, the money BP makes from refining has been squeezed and two of its US refineries have seen output reduced.

The profits are dwarfed by the record annual figure of £13.9bn, which was announced by its rival Shell last week.

Low points in the year have included receiving a $50m fine for the 2005 Texas City refinery explosion in which 15 people died.

And in May, the company’s boss, Lord Browne, resigned after lying to a court in an attempt to block stories about his private life.

‘Disappointing’ profits

Looking ahead, BP reported a reserve replacement ratio of more than 100% for the fourteenth year in a row.

The replacement ratio is a key figure for oil companies, showing how much oil they have discovered compared with the amount it has extracted.

In the last three months of 2007, replacement cost profit came in at $2.97bn, compared with $3.90bn in the same period of 2006.

Its refining and marketing operations were largely to blame for the fall, after seeing a loss of $1.34bn for the period.

“Although our fourth-quarter profits were very disappointing in refining and marketing in particular, we made good, step-by-step progress in bringing new oil and gas fields on stream and rebuilding refining capacity during the period,” BP’s chief executive Tony Hayward said.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7227714.stm

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