Why BP Earnings Won't Gush Higher

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BP will release its quarterly report tomorrow, and investors remain uncertain whether the company will ever fully recover from the Gulf oil spill three years ago. The stock is nowhere near its levels from before the spill, and it's unclear when BP earnings will stop feeling the impact of one-time charges and asset writedowns.

On the surface, conditions in the energy industry would seem to favor BP, as oil prices remain high and new discoveries around the world are helping other oil giants keep their production levels up. BP has had its share of successes, but those wins haven't turned around investors' somewhat negative sentiment about the stock. Let's take an early look at what's been happening with BP over the past quarter and what we're likely to see in its quarterly report.

Stats on BP

Analyst EPS Estimate


Change From Year-Ago EPS


Revenue Estimate

$90.3 billion

Change From Year-Ago Revenue


Earnings Beats in Past Four Quarters


Source: Yahoo! Finance, S&P Capital IQ.

When will BP earnings grow consistently?
Analysts have shown mixed beliefs about the future direction of BP earnings. In the past few months, they've lopped a dime per share from their June-quarter estimates, but they've raised their full-year 2013 estimates by nearly 5% and their 2014 consensus by more than 10%. The stock, though, hasn't made a big move, climbing just 5% since late April.

Three years on, the Gulf oil spill continues to weigh on BP. Last month, the company said that it had completed active cleanup activity in Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi, leaving only 84 miles of Louisiana coastline to finish cleaning up. With BP and other parties to the spill having spent roughly $20 billion in litigation and cleanup costs, the oil giant is eager to put the episode behind it once and for all.

BP has responded by continuing to sell off non-core assets to raise cash. In June, the company finalized a $2.4 billion sale of assets to Tesoro , which included a California refinery and a network of 800 retail gas stations. The move helps bolster Tesoro's presence on the West Coast, but for BP, the amount raised is only a fraction of what it will end up having spent in the wake of the Gulf spill.

But BP has done its best to focus on growth efforts elsewhere. In response to tax reform efforts that encouraged further investment in Alaska's North Slope, BP joined ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips in investing an additional $1 billion in the area over the next five years. The companies are also considering more wells in the Prudhoe Bay oilfield as well as streamlining transportation of oil southward, which could require even more capital expenditures. But as long as oil prices remain high, the benefits are worth the expense. In addition to Alaska, BP is also planning to invest in 40 major exploration and production projects through 2020, with 11 of them requiring $10 billion each in gross investment across regions including the North Sea, Angola, Azerbaijan, and the Gulf of Mexico.

In the BP earnings announcement, watch for the latest on the ongoing litigation over the Gulf oil spill. With a new trial scheduled for September as well as an outstanding verdict and a new fight about alleged mishandling of claims for compensation from those affected by the spill, BP still has billions at stake in resolving its legal woes successfully.

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The article Why BP Earnings Won't Gush Higher originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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