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BP more than doubles annual profit to $12.7 billion

BP's Whiting Refinery, as seen from Lakefront Park. The energy giant more than doubled its annual profit to $12.7 billion last year.

BP more than doubled its annual underlying replacement cost profit, an industry gauge of net profit, to $12.7 billion last year, up from $6.2 billion in 2017.

The London-based energy company, which operates the BP Whiting Refinery on the Lake Michigan shoreline, roped in $26.1 billion in operating cash flow last year, up from $24.1 billion in 2017.

BP's fourth-quarter profit surged more than 65 percent to $3.5 billion, which the company chalks up to "strong operating performance across all business segments."

"Our strategy is clearly working and will serve the company and our shareholders well through the energy transition," BP Group CEO Bob Dudley said.

BP delivered an 11.2 percent return on average investment last year, up from 5.8 percent in 2017.

"We now have a powerful track record of safe and reliable performance, efficient execution and capital discipline," Dudley said. "And we’re doing this while growing the business — bringing more high-quality projects online, expanding marketing in the Downstream and doing transformative deals such as BHP."

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BP paid $3.2 billion last year to help clean up after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The company added 25 percent more retail partnerships, such as through its revival of the defunct Amoco brand in the Chicago area. The company's downstream segment, which includes its refinery on Lake Michigan, delivered record refining throughput last year. 

BP's oil and gas production rose 8.2 percent year-over-year in 2018. The company produced an average of 3.7 million barrels of oil a day last year.

The company started six major drilling and exploration projects last year, with a total of 19 new drilling sites added over the last three years.

BP said it would pay shareholders a dividend of $0.1025 per share, an increase of 2.5 percent.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.