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BP'S $4.2B PROFIT BEATS FORECASTS

New York Times

LONDON - BP reported a first-quarter profit of $4.2 billion Tuesday after adjusting for inventory changes and one-off items, handily beating analysts' forecasts. BP earned 30 percent more than analysts had forecast, as new operations came onstream in Angola and Norway, oil and gas trading earned more than $500 million above average, and BP's costs per barrel produced fell slightly compared with the same period in 2012.

Even though the profit after the one-off items was 9 percent lower than the same quarter last year, Peter Hutton, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets in London, called the report "a very positive set of results."

The chief executive, Robert W. Dudley, said in a statement that "these strong first-quarter results demonstrate the progress BP is making."

The main disappointment in the quarter was an 18 percent year-on-year fall in production in the United States, in part reflecting the company's continued struggles to bring back its core deepwater production in the Gulf of Mexico after the blowout disaster there in 2010.

BP is a much smaller company than it was before the disaster, which killed 11 people and spilled millions of barrels of oil. Since the start of 2010, BP has sold about $65 billion in assets to pay spill costs and reshape the company. Production in the first quarter, 2.3 million barrels a day, was down about 5 percent compared with the first quarter of 2012.

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