In a conference call from BP's headquarters in London, BP Group Chief Executive Bob Dudley along with Chief Financial Officer Brian Gilvary, discussed 4th Q. 2012 and year-end results for the company.
At $5.9 billion BP profits plummeted, 18 percent from the previous year's three-month year-ending period. This was due to financial hemorraghing resulting from settlements for the massive 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill and related losses.
Now as the civil trial in New Orleans gears up in 20 days, Dudley reiterated to many callers that while he couldn't address particulars, BP is vigilently lawyering up. Sounding a tad nervous, Dudley said in response to the trial question after the financial call:
It's nothing we can talk about...Our efforts are really focused on getting ready for the trial. I think anything's possible (in terms of a settlement amount) but I can't give any sufficient light (on this issue) as you would expect right now."
Dudley seemed bullish, though, when discussing prospects of the Rosneft partnership in Russia, as well as how much safer the company has become since the 2010 disaster. Rosneft and BP have been in quite a dance in recent months, but in Dec. Rosneft signed two loan agreements totaling $16.8 billion to finance a 50 percent stake in TNK-BP from BP.
Oil and gas (as opposed to natural gas, shale, etc.) still account for 80 percent of the company's profits, and as we look toward 2013 he said "70 percent of our production will come from fields already producing."
Dudley started the call by addressing the trauma of the recent murders in North Africa, expressing condolences and later sharing that his is a big, but very "tightly-knit" organization. Four BP employees were murdered at the Algerian site, and naturally, this has been a personal blow to many within the organization.
On the Gulf of Mexico spill financial blow, the company has to date absorbed $42.2 billion. It's anyone's guess how much more cash carnage will follow the civil trial this month. The trial will determine whether BP acted with "gross negligence" and what the causes of the blowout were; as well as what portion of overall blame should be assigned to partners Transocean and Halliburton.
Obviously, if a settlement is reached between the lawyers prior to Feb. 25, BP won't be eating jambalaya or crow in court. And, despite BP's lapses in the Gulf, Dudley says,
We are still very optimistic about the Gulf of Mexico.
To read BP press release and gain a more throrough understanding of the company's 4th q. and year-ending financials, please click here.
Bold marks/hyperlinks are those of the Examiner's.
An earlier report here said five BP employees had died, based on a fast audio interpretation. Sorry for the error.