BP puts $15bn more assets on the block

Kasmira Jefford
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BP has reached “a definite turning point” since last year’s Gulf of Mexico disaster, its chief executive said yesterday as he announced plans to expand its disposal programme to $45bn (£28bn), double its cash flow, and boost returns to shareholders.

Chief executive Bob Dudley said the oil major would sell-off a further $15bn in assets by the end of 2013 from a previous level of $30bn “to focus [BP’s] portfolio on other areas of growth”. But he said there was no chance of spinning off its downstream arm, as some have suggested.

BP’s shares rose 3.07 per cent after the group reported third quarter replacement profits of $5.1bn – down three per cent on the second quarter but three times higher than a year ago when it was impacted by Gulf of Mexico spill costs.

BP said it expects cashflow to be 50 per cent higher by 2014 and said it could restart a programme of share buybacks and from next year begin to pay investors higher dividends.

BP also announced that chief financial officer Byron Grote would retire from his role in January and be replaced by his deputy Brian Gilvary.

Meanwhile BP’s Russian joint-venture TNK-BP said its third quarter net profit rose to $2.268bn (£1.41bn) from $1.447bn a year ago thanks to a 48 per cent rise in the price of Russian Urals crude and an increase in production.

The board of TNK-BP holding yesterday voted against joining a minority shareholder in a lawsuit against BP.