LONDON Feb 5 Fourth quarter profits from
shrinking British oil company BP Plc beat analysts
expectations on Tuesday thanks in part to a record performance
from its refining division as a trial in the U.S. over its 2010
U.S. Gulf oil spill looms later in February.
BP, the western world's No. 3 oil company and the last of
the big four to report quarterly earnings, said fourth quarter
net profit, adjusted for non-operating items and accounting
effects, fell to $3.984 from $4.986 billion a year earlier,
mainly as a result of tens of billions of dollars worth of asset
sales to pay for its spill liabilities.
Analysts had expected a quarterly profit of $3.305 billion.