British Petroleum has reported a full year loss of $4.9 billion (£3.1 billion) for 2010, its first ever since 1992.
BP has made provisions of $40.9 billion towards settling liabilities in the US related to the biggest oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The petroleum giant had recorded a net profit of $13.9 billion in 2009.
CEO Robert Dudley said BP will restart dividends this year and announced a dividend of 7 Cents in 2010. Dividends were suspended after the Gulf spill had broken out.
“We have chosen a prudent level that reflects the company’s strong underlying financial and operating performance but also recognises the need to fully meet our obligations in the Gulf of Mexico and to maintain financial flexibility”, said Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg.
BP’s profit for Q4, 2010 jumped to $4.6 billion, about 33 percent higher over same period last year. Oil prices were hovering around $90 a barrel last year and this year’s profit jump can be attributed to higher oil prices.
In its earnings statement, BP said it will sell two US assets, including the Texas City refinery – where 15 employees were killed in a blast.
As part of a worldwide restructuring process, BP has sold assets in Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia, North America, Vietnam and Egypt.
“BP will continue to emphasise safety and will be trying to generate more cash”, said Professor Joseph Lampel of Cass Business School.
“It has been fortunate that the oil price has been much higher, which has cushioned it to some extent from the effects of the problems last year”, he added.
BP has announced a $10 billion joint venture with Russian state controlled firm Rosneft to explore oil in the Russian arctic.