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BP’s profit soars on sale of venture

BP has been streamlining operations as it deals with the fallout from a Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010.

Jerry McBride/Associated Press/File 2009

BP has been streamlining operations as it deals with the fallout from a Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010.

LONDON — BP PLC’s sale of its Russian joint venture helped it more than triple first-quarter profits, the oil company said Tuesday in a further sign that its disposal program in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster is on track.

It said its replacement cost profits rose to $16.5 billion from the $4.7 billion for the same period last year, largely reflecting a one-off gain from the sale of its stake in TNK-BP. The replacement cost figure omits gains or losses in inventories, making it similar to profit figures used by US oil companies. BP’s nonreplacement cost net profit was $16.6 billion against $5.7 billion this time last year.

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The company has been functioning under a cloud since the 2010 well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 workers. Some 200 million gallons of oil spilled, smearing the shoreline of several states and fouling the Gulf of Mexico.

US government investigations blamed the spill on cost-cutting and time-saving decisions made by BP. A trial in New Orleans to determine the company’s civil liability just wrapped up its first phase.

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