Record prices for crude meant that BP, Europe’s biggest oil company, made a profit of 8.9 billion euros in the first half of the year, that is up from 8,2 billion in the same period last year. That is two million euros every hour. But the shares fell, as production in the second quarter was down and BP announced a delay until early next year in restarting its massive Thunder Horse platform in the Gulf of Mexico. It was damaged in last year’s hurricane season.
Some investors were also disappointed that Chief Executive John Browne confirmed that he will be stepping down in February 2008, when he reaches age 60 sixty, even though reportedly he does not want to go and a number of major shareholders would like him to remain in the job.
BP also said it would increase spending to upgrade all aspects of safety at its US refineries, and to repair and replace pipelines in Alaska. An explosion at its Texas City refinery in Texas last year killed 15 people and injured 500 and there have been major oil pipeline spills at Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay field.