BP steadily moving beyond Gulf spill disaster

Associated Press Modified: November 16, 2012 at 12:46 am •  Published: November 16, 2012
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After an embarrassing misstep in Russia, BP recently struck a deal that will give it a 20 percent stake in the Russian oil giant Rosneft. BP will benefit if Rosneft can successfully exploit huge oil reserves in the Russian arctic.

BP is still the biggest operator in the Gulf of Mexico even after the disaster. And it's looking to get even bigger — it acquired 40 new leases in the Gulf this year.

BP does not expect the settlement to affect its work in the Gulf. It said Thursday that no federal agencies have indicated an intention to suspend or disbar the company, something that's permitted following a criminal conviction.

Dan Gordon, the associate dean for government-procurement law studies at George Washington University law school, said suspension and disbarment are tools used to "protect the government going forward" and not to settle old scores.

Even though BP is smaller, revenue and profits have kept flowing, thanks to higher oil prices. The company earned $25.8 billion last year on revenue of $377 billion — eclipsing the company's previous record profit of $22.2 from 2005 and its previous record revenue of $361 billion in 2008.

In its most recent quarter, BP earned $5.5 billion on revenue of $91 billion.

But investors are likely to remain cautious until next year's civil case is resolved. BP's shares traded near $60 before the spill, then fell to as low as $27 in the months after. They closed Thursday at $40.28.

Still, shareholders value the company at $128 billion, making BP the fourth biggest investor-owned oil and gas company in the world.

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AP Writers Seth Borenstein and David Koenig contributed to this report.

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Follow Jonathan Fahey on Twitter at http://twitter.com/JonathanFahey .