05/02/2013 03:47 GMT | Updated 05/02/2013 05:20 GMT

BP Profits Hit By Gulf Of Mexico Crisis, Oil Giant Puts Another £2.6bn For Deepwater Horizon Disaster

Oil giant BP revealed its profits had been hit by the fallout from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster, posting a net profit of $3.99 billion (£2.53bn), down from $4.99bn (£3.17bn) a year earlier.

The profits took a dive as a result of BP having to sell off many of its assets to pay off fines relating to the oil spill problems in the Gulf of Mexico. BP has sold $37.8bn (£24bn) worth of assets since the incident in 2010, and has now put aside $42.2bn (£26.8bn).

The BP-contracted Deepwater Horizon was drilling the mile-deep well on April 20, 2010, when a surge of methane gas caused a blowout. The accident led to a months-long US deepwater ban and intense scrutiny of the offshore drilling industry, which is now booming worldwide despite lingering public concerns.

The oil giant admitted manslaughter over its role in the incident - which resulted in the deaths of 11 workers and spilled millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico - earlier this year. BP will pay the £2.8bn fine over six years.

Transocean, the company which leased the Deepwater Horizon rig to oil giant BP, has also been fined $1.4 billion (£860 million) after admitting its role in the Gulf of Mexico disaster.

BP had long argued that it was not the only company responsible. In a statement in January, it said: "In settling, Transocean has acknowledged that it played a significant role and has responsibility for the accident. Transocean is finally starting, more than two-and-a-half years after the accident, to do its part for the Gulf Coast."

Business analyst at Company Watch Nick Hood told the Huffington Post UK said the profits figures released on Tuesday were better than many analysts expectations: "BP is still wrestling with its Deepwater Horizon demons as it battles to restore some semblance of good standing in the US and around the world. Getting so close to maintaining its core profits against a background of so much financial and operational turmoil has been quite an achievement for a management team, which has been so severely distracted.

"Shedding assets as a quasi-forced seller whilst at the same time bringing new projects on stream successfully can't have been an easy task, especially with such uncertainty in the resources sector and more widely in the global economy. BP's debt levels are under control and falling, while the balance sheet remains a safe and secure platform from which to continue with the task of repositioning this corporate leviathan."

Phil Wong, stockbroker at Redmayne Bentley, added: "Regardless of this substantial drop in profits, shares were edging higher as investors were expecting the fall and were likely reassured by the Chief Executive, Bob Dudley's comments that the company is now on track to resume growth."