Gulf oil spill costs BP $41-bn; plans to divest US assets

British oil and gas giant BP said yesterday that the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the worst-ever environmental disaster in the US history, has cost the company $40.9 billion.

In its quarterly results released yesterday, BP said that underlying replacement cost profit for the December quarter was $4.4 billion. Total loss for the full year was $4.9 billion, including the spill costs, BP said.

After cutting dividends for two consecutive quarters since June following the oil spill tragedy, the company resumed its dividend payments by disbursing 7 cents a share in the fourth quarter.

The $239-billion oil giant has set out a strategic agenda for investment in long-term growth opportunities, and also revealed plans to divest half of its US refinery assets.

BP group chairman Bob Dudley said that the company would emerge from the tragic episode of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill as a ''safer, stronger, more sustainable, more trusted and also more valuable''company.

"2011 will be a year of recovery and consolidation,'' Dudley further said.