BP, the West's no.4 oil company, reported weaker quarterly profits after its refining business swung to a loss, and said it would increase the accounting provision for the 2010 U.S. oil spill by $200 million.
Underlying replacement cost profit, a common accounting measure to report profits in the oil industry which takes into account the fluctuations in the price of oil, came in at $2.809 billion. That was above a forecast supplied by the company of $2.7 billion. The figure came in at $3.852 billion in the fourth quarter of 2012.
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BP's lower profits are in step with what has been a torrid earnings season across the "big oil" sector, which are struggling to grow profits amid rising costs, the expense of finding fresh reserves and weak refining margins.
The world's largest publicly traded oil company by market value, Exxon Mobil, reported lower-than-expected quarterly profit last week, while Chevron and BP's European rival Shell both issued profit warnings in January.