BP Q4 profits hit by $4.1-bn oil spill charge

British oil and gas giant BP Plc's earnings continue to be impacted by the costs related to the devastating Gulf of Mexico oil spill  nearly three years ago with the company's replacement cost profit plunging 19 per cent in 2012 to $17.6 billion compared  to $21.7 billion a year ago.

BP took an additional $4.1 billion charge in the fourth quarter related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April 2010, taking the cumulative net charge to $42.2 billion, as legal proceedings in the US courts and settlement claims against BP continued in 2012.

Profit for the fourth quarter was down 20 per cent to $4 billion from $5 billion in Q4 2011.

Despite the fall in profit, BP said that it's downstream refining and sales of petroleum products delivered a record level of earnings on the back of improved operational performance.

BP Group chief executive Bob Dudley said, ''We have moved past many milestones in 2012, repositioning BP through divestments and bringing on new projects. This lays a solid foundation for growth into the long term.''

''Moving through 2013 we will deliver further operational milestones and remain on track for delivery of our ten-point strategic plan, including our target for operating cash flow growth, by 2014,'' Dudley further stated.