BP sees profits rise on exceptional items

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BP has announced that its profits increased during the second quarter - after the oil firm sold its Coryton refinery in Britain and the West Texas pipeline in the US to Occidental Petroleum.

Net profit stood at $7.38 billion over the second quarter, up from $7.27 billion a year earlier. Total revenues were $73.1 billion, slightly down on the $73.2 billion that came in over the same period in 2006.

Profit, excluding exceptional items and changes in inventory, was down by 12 per cent however - tumbling to $5.35 billion.

Over the first half of the year, profits were down by 6.6 per cent to $12.04 billion.

The declining results are seen as a challenge to the group's new head, Tony Hayward. He took over in May, after the dramatic resignation of outgoing chief executive John Browne.

BP shares fell by 0.42 per cent on London FTSE 1000 after the announcement.

Over the first half of the year, BP faced disruptions to its oil production at US refineries. The group says that production should fall back into line with guidance over the next six months.

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