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The Associated Press October 25, 2011, 4:19AM ET

BP Q3 profit rises on higher oil price

BP PLC had a strong rise in profit in the third-quarter, boosted by higher global oil prices, in a turnaround from the disastrous Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the company said Tuesday.

The oil giant also said it now aims to dispose of $45 billion in assets, up from the $30 billion it originally set to raise money to pay for damage from the blowout on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig on April 20 of last year. Eleven rig workers were killed in the explosion and fire.

For the three months ending Sept. 30, BP had a net profit of $4.9 billion, compared with $1.8 billion a year earlier.

Revenue rose 31 percent to $97.6 billion. Brent crude averaged $112 a barrel in the third quarter, up from $77 per barrel a year earlier.

Replacement cost profit was $5.1 billion compared with $1.9 billion a year earlier.

On an underlying basis, excluding non-operating items and accounting effects, replacement cost profit was down 4 percent to $5.3 billion because of lower production and higher maintenance costs.

"We have now reached a definite turning point," Chief Executive Bob Dudley said in a statement accompanying the earnings report.

"Our operations are regaining momentum and we are facing the future with great confidence."

For the first nine months of the year, BP reported a replacement cost profit of $15.9 billion, compared with a loss of $9.5 billion a year ago when the company absorbed $40 billion in charges because of the Gulf of Mexico spill.

BP shares were up 2.2 percent at 447.9 pence as trading opened on the London Stock Exchange Tuesday.

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