BP earnings rise amid cost cuts, output increase

By DANICA KIRKAEnergyAssociated Press

BP's third quarter net earnings rose 9.2 percent as the energy company cut costs and increased production to adjust to lower oil prices.

Net income increased to $1.77 billion from $1.62 billion in the same period last year, the London-based company said in a statement Tuesday. Underlying replacement cost profit doubled to $1.86 billion. The figure, which excludes one-time items and fluctuations in the value of inventories, is the industry's preferred gauge of earnings.

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Oil companies have been cutting costs and selling assets after oil prices plunged to their lowest levels in more than a decade early last year. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oil prices, averaged $52.08 a barrel in the quarter, up 13.6 percent from a year earlier. Oil was above $100 a barrel as recently as September 2014.

"We are steadily building a track record of delivering on our plans and growing across our businesses," Chief Executive Bob Dudley said. "There is still room for further improvement."

BP increased production of oil and natural gas by 14 percent to the equivalent of 3.6 million barrels of oil a day. Production costs fell 16 percent for the first nine months of this year.

The company set aside an additional $206 million in the quarter to cover claims and finance costs related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, bringing total charges for the disaster to $63.4 billion.