BP profits drop 28 pct in 2013

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British oil giant BP reported profits drop in 2013, blaming for weaker refining margins and higher exploration costs, according to BP 2013's fourth quarter and full-year results announced on Tuesday.

BP, which operates in more than 80 countries and regions, said its underlying replacement cost profit for the fourth quarter of 2013 fell to 2.8 billion U.S. dollars, compared with 3.9 billion dollars in the same period of 2012.

Full-year underlying replacement cost profit was down from 17.1 billion dollars for 2012 to 13.4 billion dollars for 2013.

It explained that the profits fall was affected by several factors such as "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's profits were also affected by increasing bills for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010 which killed 11 men and despoiled the surrounding coastline of the United States.

According to BP, the provision to cover the spill's clean-up, fines, compensation and legal costs had risen to 42.7 billion dollars from 42.5 billion dollars last year.

"The impacts of these 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," the oil company said in a statement.

However, BP Group Chief Executive Bob Dudley was still optimistic with the company's performance last year.

He said: "BP delivered strong operating performance throughout 2013, with increased asset reliability and major project delivery in both our Upstream and Downstream businesses."

"These achievements underpin our financial targets for 2014 and lay the foundation for continued growth in sustainable free cash flow."

BP, employs about 85,900 people, boasts two largest divisions in the United States and Europe, and also carries out major business activities in India, China, Australia and Southern Africa.

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