BP says production steadied in the last three months after five quarters of decline

BP PLC, Europe's second-largest oil company by market value, said Tuesday production in the fourth quarter is likely to be little changed compared to the previous three months, following more than a year of declining output.

The company expects to report production of 3.8 million barrels of oil equivalent per day in the quarter ended Dec. 31, slightly higher than in the third quarter, BP said in a statement. In the fourth quarter last year, production was 4.02 million barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Brendan Wilders, an analyst at Oriel Securities, said the report was in line with expectations, although some had expected production closer to 4 million barrels per day, reports AP.

"There's a list of new excuses, but no real surprises," Wilder said.

BP said output increased after the company conducted maintenance in the North Sea and Alaska, but those gains were offset by delays in Alaska loadings and low demand for gas.

Figures for the full year will be published Feb. 6.

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