BP Reports Profit But Spill Costs Still Growing

BP's earnings report comes out Tuesday, indicating perhaps how much the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has cost investors.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

This morning we can also tell you that BP is in the black - and when we say that, we are referring to profits, not the color of crude oil.

The oil giant announced that it made $1.8 billion in the three months that ended in September. That's compared to a multi-billion-dollar loss in the previous quarter.

But as Vicki Barker reports from London, the Gulf Oil spill still shadows the company.

VICKI BARKER: Analysts were expecting to hear that the oil giant was back in the black in the third quarter. But several said they were caught off guard by BP's revelation that it's had to come up with another $7.7 billion to cover costs related to the Gulf Oil spill, this after setting aside $32 billion in the second quarter.

Nick McGregor is an oil analyst at the London stockbrokers Redmayne Bentley.

Mr. NICK MCGREGOR (Oil Analyst, Redmayne Bentley): The fact that one quarter later they're coming back and having to basically add 20 percent to that shows just how uncertain this whole business is and just how uncertain the final bill is.

BARKER: Today's results were the first under BP's new CEO, Bob Dudley, who has pledged to put safety at the heart of all of BP's operations. Missing from the third quarter report: any timetable as to when BP might reinstate its dividend. Any decision on that is now unlikely before February, when Dudley is expected to unveil his plans to overhaul the company. BP's stock remains about 30 percent below its levels before the Deep Water Horizon disaster.

For NPR News, I'm Vicki Barker in London.

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