UK energy company BP sees profit drop 79 percent in Q4, hit by Gulf of Mexico spill settlement

Oil and gas giant BP says its profit fell nearly 80 percent in the fourth quarter, dragged down by payouts related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

BP said Tuesday that net profit fell to $1.62 billion in the quarter ending on Dec. 31, down from $7.69 billion in the same period the year before. BP took a loss of $3.85 billion for its settlement of all federal criminal charges with the U.S. government.

Nevertheless, the results surpassed analysts' predictions, and BP said that its downstream activities — refining and sale of petroleum products — earned a record amount for the year.

CEO Bob Dudley said in a statement that the result "lays a solid foundation for growth into the long term."