BP promises change after $4.9bn losses

Marion Dakers
BP POSTED its first annual loss in almost 20 years yesterday, but granted a dividend to shareholders as it attempts to move on from last April’s Gulf of Mexico disaster.

BP lost $4.9bn (£3bn) in 2010 due to mounting Gulf spill clean-up and compensation costs, though the firm made a $4.4bn profit in the fourth quarter of the year once the changing cost of oil was stripped out.

BP will pay dividends for the first time since the Gulf spill, with shareholders receiving a reduced payment worth 4.3p, in line with forecasts.

The oil giant produced 3.67m barrels of oil equivalent per day during the last three months of the year, down nine per cent on the previous year due to asset sales and the ongoing drilling moratorium in the Gulf.

New chief executive Bob Dudley said 2011 would be a year of consolidation for the firm, warning that production levels are likely to remain lower as it continues to sell off parts of the business. BP hopes to start 32 new exploration projects over five years.