Wall Street Journal: BP’s Net Profit Rises

BP PLC said it expects to resume drilling in the Gulf of Mexico by the second half of 2011, little more than a year after a rig it had leased there exploded, killing 11 workers and triggering a catastrophic oil spill.

Company officials spoke as BP reported results that showed the repercussions of the Deepwater Horizon disaster continue to weigh on its earnings. BP’s replacement-cost profit for the first quarter was $5.48 billion, down 2% from $5.6 billion a year earlier and lower than most analysts’ forecasts. The metric, which strips out changes in the value of crude inventories, is more closely watched by investors than the net profit figure, which was $7.12 billion, up 17% from $6.08 billion a year earlier. Revenue for the quarter rose 19% to $88.31 billion from $74.42 billion.
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Chief Financial Officer Byron Grote told analysts that BP expected to be “back and actively drilling [in the Gulf] during the second half of the year.” Fergus MacLeod, BP’s head of investor relations, said BP’s return was subject to regulatory approvals and would only happen if the company meets or exceeds new safety standards, such as tough requirements on oil-spill-response capabilities and equipment like blowout preventers

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