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BP’s profits double in Q4 of 2016 on the back of slightly higher oil prices and more cost-cutting.

Underlying replacement cost profit – BP’s preferred measure – was $400 million, up from $196 million a year earlier.

The oil giant took another charge of $799 million for the Deepwater Horizon disaster, bringing total charges to $62.6 billion.

BP CEO Bob Dudley said: “2016 was the year we made significant strides for future growth.

“We start this year with considerable momentum – and a sense of disciplined ambition. We have laid the foundations for BP to be back to growth.”

BP is set to receive a record fine of between $3 billion and $5 billion to settle criminal charges related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster

For the 2016 as a whole, underlying replacement cost profit – which strips out fluctuations in the value of oil stocks – fell to $2.58 billion, down from $5.90 billion in 2015.

However, the profit figures were below some analysts’ forecasts, and BP shares fell 2% at the start of trading in London.

In 2015, the company posted its biggest loss in at least 20 years, ravaged by Gulf of Mexico spill costs and tumbling oil prices, which caused the group to axe jobs and cut investments.

However, Bob Dudley said that the costs and liabilities from the fatal Deepwater Horizon oil platform disaster were “now substantially behind us. BP is fully focused on the future”.

BP said it would balance its books at an oil price of around $60 per barrel by the end of the year. Oil companies have been selling assets and cutting costs to adjust to lower prices. Brent crude, the international benchmark, averaged $44 a barrel in 2016, the lowest in 12 years.


Schlumberger has cut 10,000 jobs in Q4 of 2015 amid the plunge in oil prices.

News of the near-10% jobs cull came as the oilfield services giant unveiled a net loss for the last three months of $1 billion – its first quarterly loss in 12 years.

Schlumberger’s revenues fell 39% to $7.74 billion, with CEO Paal Kibsgaard warning that there was “no signs” of an oil price recovery on the horizon.

The company also announced a $10 billion share buy-back program.Schlumberger job cut 2016

This news pushed Schlumberger’s shares 4% higher in after-hours trading. The stock price fell almost 20% is 2015 as investor worried that customers were cancelling projects as the oil price tumbled.

The profit figures were better than many analysts had expected, helped by heavy cuts to offset the slump in oil prices.

The latest job cuts added to the 20,000 redundancies Schlumberger had already announced earlier in 2015.

Paal Kibsgaard warned that there were “no signs of pricing recovery in the short to medium term”.

“Negative market sentiments intensified in the fourth quarter, with oil over-production continuing and extending the bearish trend in global inventories,” Schlumberger said in its report.

The dramatic fall in prices “prompted customers to make further cuts to already significantly lower investment levels,” the company said, pointing to “unscheduled and abrupt activity cancellations.”

Oil prices have dipped below $28 a barrel in a drawn-out slump since mid-2014.

Many analysts have slashed their 2016 oil price forecasts, with Morgan Stanley analysts saying that “oil in the $20s is possible”.

Economists at the Royal Bank of Scotland say that oil could fall to $16, while Standard Chartered predicts that prices could hit just $10 a barrel.

Russia has protested over the seizure of the Russian state assets in Belgium, a move triggered by a court ruling over the now-defunct Yukos oil company.

The Belgian ambassador to Moscow was told that the asset seizure was “an openly hostile act” that “crudely violates the recognized norms of international law”.

In 2014, a court told Russia to pay Yukos shareholders $50 billion in compensation, after Yukos’s break-up.

A Russian state company took over Yukos.

In July 2014, an international arbitration court in The Hague said Russian officials had manipulated the legal system to bankrupt Yukos, and jail its boss, the oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky.Russia Belgium asset seizure over Yukos

France has also seized Russian state accounts in about 40 banks, along with eight or nine buildings, AFP news agency reports.

In a statement on Facebook, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who spent 10 years in detention in Russia, expressed joy at the asset seizures.

“I am not a beneficiary in this process as the partners redeemed my share back in 2004. But this does not prevent me from sincerely rejoicing, as a Russian citizen, at what is happening now.

“This is a symbolic moment for our country,” Mikhail Khodorkovsky said, calling it “a signal that theft will not escape punishment, no matter how all-powerful the thief was”.

According to a Russian foreign ministry statement, Russia demanded that Belgium reverse its asset seizure. If no such action was taken, Russia warned, it would consider “appropriate reciprocal measures” against the Belgian embassy and unnamed Belgian officials.

Earlier, Russia’s Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev ruled out any compensation for Yukos shareholders. Their interests are now represented by a Gibraltar-registered holding company, GML.

Russia is appealing against the court ruling of last July, Alexei Ulyukayev said.

The asset seizures in Belgium and France also affect Russian media, including TASS news agency and state broadcaster VGTRK, Russian media report.

GML manager Tim Osborne was quoted in French media as saying similar legal action was being taken against Russian state assets in the UK and US.

Argentina has decided to nationalize a controlling interest in country’s biggest oil company YPF owned by Spanish firm Repsol.

President Cristina Fernandez said a bill be presented to the Senate allowing the government to expropriate 51% of YPF shares.

The move, announced on national television, was welcomed by her cabinet and Argentine governors.

Spain and the EU have already expressed concern at such a state takeover of YPF, in which Repsol has a 57.4% stake.

Shares in YPF fell some 18% on Wall Street following the announcement.

YPF has come under sustained criticism from the Argentine government, which accuses it of failing to invest enough in local oil fields.

Argentina has decided to nationalize a controlling interest in country’s biggest oil company YPF owned by Spanish firm Repsol

Argentina has decided to nationalize a controlling interest in country’s biggest oil company YPF owned by Spanish firm Repsol

The Argentina authorities have accused YPF of not investing enough to increase its output and so lessen the need for imports, an accusation it rejects.

The company has been stripped of a number of leases, including in some of the biggest oil fields in the country.

In recent weeks, speculation has grown that the Argentine government was planning to force through a bigger state role in the firm.

Spain has previously warned Buenos Aires that a takeover of YPF could have consequences for Argentina’s international image.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, has made it clear it backs Spain’s position.

In November last year, YPF, which was privatized in 1993, announced a major find of 1 billion barrels of shale oil.

Argentina has some of the world’s largest reserves of shale oil and gas, hydrocarbons trapped deep underground.

Argentina is ranked number three in the world in terms of recoverable resources, behind China and the US, according to the US Energy Information Administration.