BP announces slump in profits

By AFP, London

BP profits plunged in the first quarter compared with one year earlier when the group sold its stake in a Russian joint venture, the British energy giant said Tuesday.
Net profit stood at $3.528 billion (2.544 billion euros) in the first three months of 2014 compared with profit after tax of $16.863 billion in the first quarter one year earlier, BP said in an earnings statement.
BP-still seeking to reposition itself after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster in 2010 -- has since sold its 50-percent stake in joint venture TNK-BP to Rosneft that gave it a near 20-percent stake in the Russian energy company.
"First quarter 2013 included a $12.5-billion gain relating to the disposal of our interest in TNK-BP," the British company said in Tuesday's statement, explaining the main reason for the heavy fall to net profit.
BP's performance was hit also by a $521-million write-off relating to its decision not to develop the Utica shale energy acreage in the United States.
Stripping out the one-off gains and losses, as well as changes to the value of its oil and gas inventories, BP said that profit after tax dropped to $3.225 billion in the first quarter - - which was also lower compared with market expectations.
Analysts' consensus had been for so-called underlying replacement cost profit of $5.42 billion, according to a survey from Dow Jones Newswires.