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BP profit drops 80% on spill costs

LONDON — Oil and gas giant BP’s profit fell nearly 80 percent in the fourth quarter in results released Tuesday, dragged down by payouts related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

BP said that net profit fell to $1.62 billion in the three months ended Dec. 31, down from $7.69 billion in the same period the year before. BP took a loss of $3.85 billion for its settlement of all federal criminal charges with the US government. Underlying replacement cost profit for the period, which strips out the changes in the value of inventories, was down 20 percent on the same period last year at $3.98 billion.

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The company’s settlement with the US Justice Department shut the book on the criminal probe of BP’s role in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and Gulf oil spill, but civil claims remain. The London-based oil giant could pay billions more in damages for the 2010 spill.

Nevertheless, the results surpassed analysts’ predictions, and BP said that its downstream activities earned a record amount for the year.

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