BP has reported a surge in profits for the fourth quarter of 2009. The oil giant said profits surged by 70% to $4.4 billion (£2.8 billion) in the last three months of the year, compared with a loss of $3.3 billion (£2 billion) for the same period in 2008. Meanwhile, for the full year, profits were down 45% at $14 billion (£8.7 billion). According to BP,
this mainly reflected the weaker market environment of lower average oil and gas prices and depressed fuel margins.
Production was also up more than 4%, with the company churning out an extra 162,000 barrels of oil a day, equivalent to four million a day.
The oil giant insisted the year had been "very good", with an improved performance in the fourth quarter and a marked recovery in production.
BP chief executive Tony Hayward, said 2009 had seen the company exceeding many of the expectations set out for the company at the beginning of the year, despite the weak external environment.
He commented: "These results provide the clearest demonstration of the progress we have made and the momentum we have established in growing our business and making it more efficient."
Mr Haywood added that output was expected to fall this year. He added: "Our strategy remains the same: Delivering profitable growth in the upstream; driving cost efficiency in the downstream and at the corporate centre; and investing with discipline and focus on alternative energy."