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BP's Profits Less than Shell's

According to analysts of The Times, BP will report 3.15 billion pounds

Oil major BP is not expected to out do its compatriot Shell when it announces its results from 2005 on Tuesday.

BP is the UK's largest company by market value but it is not expected to top the profits performance of major rival Royal Dutch Shell.

Acording to analysts of The Times, BP will report 3.15 billion pounds ($5.75 billion) profits for its fourth quarter, meaning that the oil giant will have banked 12.2 billion pounds ($21.59 billion) over the year as a whole.

That would represent profits that are a third higher than its haul of 9.1 billion pounds($16.01 billion) in 2004. Shell has already announced that it made 12.93billion pounds($23 billion) over the past year.

BP?s profits are mainly driven by oil prices, which hit a record above $70 a barrel last year. The firm also benefited from strong refining margins, which hit an all time high after Hurricanes Rita and Katrina damaged Gulf of Mexico oil facilities.

If the average forecast of $5.75 billion for BP?s fourth quarter replacement cost profit comes out, this would represent a 21 per cent jump from the same period in 2004. The forecast implies BP will be just short of Shell.