Anyone needing an example of how powerful and profitable the oil and gas industry is need look no further than BP's recently posted third-quarter finances: The oil giant, despite an almost unprecedented corporate image meltdown and outlays of tens of billions in Gulf of Mexico oil spill expenses, still managed to make$1.8 billion in profits in the three-month period that ended Sept. 30.
BP CEO Bob Dudley said in a statement: "These results demonstrate that BP is well on track for recovery after the tragic accident on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and subsequent oil spill."
The profit number was down from the $5 billion in profits BP reported in the same quarter last year, but up dramatically from the $17 billion loss it reported in the second quarter of this year, when the spill was at its worst. The company also reported that it estimates its total bill for the spill will top $40 billion.
While some media outlets reported all of this with a somewhat negative spin (a Reuters headline reports that BP's profits have taken a "dive," and an AP headline says spill costs "keep lid on" profits), the news that it's already back to making money -- billions, no less -- is a good sign for the embattled company.
"If you look at everything excluding the impact of the spill, this was encouraging," oil industry analyst Oswald Clint told CNN.