BP CEO: '2014 Is When Things Start Moving'

Reuters with
BP CEO: Still Shrinking in 2013

Oil giant BP has still some way to go until its divestment strategy is completed, and CEO Bob Dudley told CNBC Monday that 2014 will be year the company's fortunes begin to turn around.

The company has sold $37.8 billion worth of assets since the Macondo spill in the Gulf of Mexico and taken a total charge against profits of $42.2 billion - most of which has already been paid out.

Dudley said that more readjustment were likely in 2013.

"2014 is when things really start moving because in 2013 we have about 150,000 barrels a day of oil divestments yet to come," he said.

"Underlying we'll have production growth in 2013 but we're still shrinking down a bit, at the tail of those divestments."

Fourth-quarter profits for the firm beat analysts' expectations on Tuesday thanks in part to a record performance from its refining division, as a trial over its 2010 U.S. Gulf oil spill looms later in February.

BP, the last of the big four western world oil companies to report, said fourth quarter net profit, adjusted for non-operating items and accounting effects, fell to $3.984 billion from $4.986 billion a year earlier, mainly as a result of asset sales to pay for its spill liabilities.

Analysts had expected a quarterly profit of $3.305 billion, although they warned the result was hard to predict given the changing nature of BP.

Algeria Crisis

Dudley also spoke about the In Amenas gas field in Algeria, jointly operated by BP, following the terrorist attack on January 16. A four-day siege by Algerian security forces left at least 37 hostages and 29 militants dead.

"It's a tough time for everybody right now," he said. "It was a high secure sight, it was very very unusual incident."

BP operations are now on heightened alert all over the world, he said, and the industry is in discussions as to what could be done with regards to security and how it can work with local governments.

"There was no specific warning or warning in advance of this attack," he said. "We certainly had tight securities in many of our facilities, wherever we operate."

(Read More: Experts Had Warned of Attack on In Amenas Gas Plant)

BP expects four new major upstream projects to begin production by the end of 2013 -- Angola LNG, North Rankin 2 in Australia, Na Kika 3 in the Gulf of Mexico, and the Chirag Oil project in Azerbaijan.

A further six major projects are expected to come onstream through 2014. In addition, the major upgrade of the Whiting refinery in Indiana is expected to come online in the second half of 2013, BP said.

(Read More: Energy Bulls Are Turning to BP)

Like its sector peers, BP is facing rising costs and is spending fast to keep production growing. It said organic capital expenditure would be $24-$25 billion in 2013, up from $23 billion in 2012.

More billions could flow out of BP this year either via a settlement with U.S. authorities and/or as a result of a civil penalties trial that is due to begin on February 25.