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Three months after Gulf spill, BP is back in the black

Logo at BP gas station in Manchester, England

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Just three months after sealing the worst offshore oil leak in U.S. history, British oil giant BP is back in profit territory. $1.85 billion in past three months to be exact.

Marketplace's Stephen Beard is with us live from London with that. Hi Stephen.

STEPHEN BEARD: Hello Steve.

CHIOTAKIS: This is quite a turnaround. Just after the Gulf spill a lot of folks were talking bankruptcy.

BEARD: It is remarkable. If you think that in the previous three months the company suffered the biggest quarterly loss in U.K. history -- $17 billion. So far the Gulf of Mexico disaster has cost -- or the bill for BP -- is $40 billion, that's the total sum the company has set aside to pay for capping the well, cleaning up the spill and compensating for the damage. In spite of these enormous sums the company is now making a profit.

CHIOTAKIS: So where are these profits, Stephen? Where are they coming from?

BEARD: Oil.

CHIOTAKIS: [Laughs] OK.

BEARD: If this company had been involved in virtually any other business and suffered this kind of a financial and reputational hit it really would be struggling. But the demand for oil is such that BP's been making very good revenues. Azfar Shaukat is an oil analyst with consulting firm Mott McDonald and he says apart from the disaster in the Gulf, other bids of BP have been thriving.

AZFAR SHAUKAT: The refining and marketing business has done well, and in fact in the U.S., the refining operation made a profit for the first time this year.

One caveat, BP has -- as we've heard -- set aside $40 billion to cover the cost of the spill. But as all the law suits begin to bite it is possible that figure could rise.

CHIOTAKIS: Marketplace's Stephen Beard reporting from London. Stephen, thanks.

BEARD: OK Steve.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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