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BP chief Bob Dudley. Image courtesy of BP/Youtube.

While low oil prices weighed on BP’s third quarter profits the company still managed to beat earnings expectations.

BP posted a $46 million profit for the third quarter, an improvement over the $5.82 billion loss seen last quarter, on revenues of $55.87 billion, down from $94.76 billion a year ago.

Third quarter earnings hit $0.60 per share, well above analyst targets of $0.33 per share, according to Zacks.

Replacement cost profit climbed to $1.23 billion, up from a loss of $6.26 billion in the second quarter.

After adjusting for a net charge for after-tax non-operating items of $756 million and net favorable fair value accounting effects of $171 million, underlying RC profit for the third quarter was $1.81 billion, compared with $3.03 billion for the same period in 2014.

Analysts had expected underlying replacement costs of about $1.2 billion, Reuters said.

Non-operating items include a restructuring charge of $151 million for the quarter.

All amounts relating to the Deepwater Horizon spill have been treated as non-operating items, with a net pre-tax charge of $426 million for the third quarter.

Total capital expenditure on an accruals basis for the third quarter was $4.3 billion, compared with $5.3 billion for the same period in 2014.

BP announced a quarterly dividend of 10 cents per ordinary share that is expected to be paid on December 18.

Upstream profits before interest and tax for the third quarter were $716 million, down significantly from $3.31 billion during the same quarter last year.

Production for the quarter was 2.242 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, up 4.4 percent year-over-year.

The company said it expects fourth quarter reported production to be “slightly higher than the third quarter” as production recovers from planned seasonal turnaround activity.

Downstream profit before interest and tax dove down to $875 million from $2.234 billion last quarter.

BP expects reduced refining margins and lower seasonal demand in the fourth quarter to “adversely impact fuels margins and volumes compared with the third quarter.”

Profits before interest and tax from the company’s stake in Russia’s Rosneft slipped to $370 million compared to $534 million last quarter.

BP said its current divestment program is nearly complete with total agreed divestments expected to approach $10 billion by the end of 2015 from a current total of $7.8 billion.

The company expects to agree a further $3 to 5 billion divestments in 2016 before returning to a rate of around $2 to 3 billion a year after.

BP also expects to balance its organic sources and uses of cash by 2017 in a Brent oil price environment of about $60 per barrel.

“BP has successfully adapted to changing circumstances many times in its history and, in a hard time for the entire industry, I believe we will once again successfully take on today’s challenges,” BP chief Bob Dudley said.