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BP loses profits on refinery problems

Stephen Beard Feb 5, 2008


Scott Jagow: Shell and Exxon have reported record profits, again. The one exception is BP. But that’s a whole other story. Here’s Stephen Beard reporting from London.

Stephen Beard: BP’s profit for 2007 is down 22 percent on the previous year. The company is cutting around 5,000 jobs.

At a time when the price of oil is hovering around $90 barrel, this result seems almost bizarre. But not totally unexpected. Refining in the U.S. was the problem.

Jim Washer of Petroleum Intelligence Weekly says the Texas City refinery explosion in ’05 knocked out a lot of capacity. And the other big U.S. refining plant had maintenance issues.

Jim Washer: That’s been a very profitable part of business of late. So to have two major plants in the U.S. not operating properly over a period of a year, 18 months, obviously affects the bottom line.

But analysts say BP’s prospects now look much better. This year, the two refineries are expected to resume full production. And the company seems to have done a better job than its rivals in finding new oil and gas reserves.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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