Energy giant BP announced a return to profit on Tuesday but revealed new shock estimates for the cost of its Gulf of Mexico oil spill, putting the expected bill at close to $40 billion.
The new figure is far higher than expected. BP said it had taken an additional charge of $7.7 billion during the third quarter, bringing the company's own total estimated clean-up and legal costs to $39.9 billion.
The company also reported a net profit of $1.785 billion for the third quarter following a loss of $16.9 billion during the second quarter of this year, AFP says.
This latest result represents an impressive turnaround from BP's dire previous quarter, in which it made a massive loss of $17bn. And it's even more encouraging if you ignore one-off costs - like the small matter of paying compensation and costs to clean up the oil spill - without those, its underlying profits actually rose to $5.53bn. That's 18% higher than the same period last year, and considerably up on analysts' average forecast of $4.6bn, according to Reuters. And while part of that is thanks to higher oil prices, it's also just a function of the fact that pumping the black stuff out of the ground is a hugely lucrative business.
But the company is still in for bumpy few months. Bob Dudley, the its new CEO, faces a huge challenge to overhaul BP's operations even as it pays for the clean-up job; this will include selling off $30bn worth of assets and streamlining its oil exploration and production division - which, incidentally, saw earnings increase by more than $2bn in the last three months, Management Today reports.
When the leaders of the two great nations were discussing the fate of the world, journalists were analysing their vehicles and airplanes