BP Reports First Annual Loss in 2 Decades

BP notched a $4.9 billion loss Tuesday in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, marking the company’s first annual shortfall in almost two decades.

The energy giant also announced Tuesday that it is resuming dividends for the first time since the April 20th disaster and outlined plans to diminish its dealings in the U.S.

BP reported a charge of $40.9 billion for the full year to cover the cost of the oil spill triggered by the Macondo well blowout. That estimate is up from the previous pricetag of $40 billion.

“2010 will rightly be remembered for the tragic accident and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and it is clear that as a result BP is a company in transition,” chief executive Bob Dudley said, according to AFP.

“I am determined that we will emerge from this episode as a company that is safer, stronger, more sustainable, more trusted and also more valuable.”

The company, which suspended dividends after the spill, will resume payment at 7 cents per share – about half the amount in the fourth quarter of 2009, msnbc.com reports.

“We believe now is the right time to resume payment of a dividend to our shareholders,” said Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg, according to msnbc.com.

“We have chosen a prudent level that reflects the company’s strong underlying financial and operating performance but also recognizes the need to fully meet our obligations in the Gulf of Mexico and to maintain financial flexibility.”

In addition, BP announced plans to shift focus away from business in the U.S. The company plans to sell two major U.S. refineries, including the Texas City plant where 15 workers died in a 2005 explosion, effectively halving its refining business in the country.

“2011 will be a year of recovery and consolidation as we implement the changes we have identified to reduce operational risk and meet our commitments arising from the spill,” said BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley. “But it will also be a year in which we have the opportunity to reset the company, adjusting the shape of our business, and focus on growing value for shareholders.”

Meanwhile, BP is working to team up with Russian state oil company Rosneft for a joint oil exploration venture in the Arctic.

Categorized | Oil & Petroleum
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