LONDON -- The shares of BP (LSE:BP) (NYSE:BP) climbed 12 pence to 469 pence during early London trade this morning after the FTSE 100 member reported a first-quarter profit of $17 billion.

BP said the performance was bolstered by the disposal of the group's TNK-BP operation, which was sold to Rosneft during the period and prompted an accounting gain of $12 billion.

Adjusting for the TNK-BP sale and other items, BP said its underlying profit for January, February and March came to $4.2 billion -- some $400 million less than the underlying level achieved during the first quarter of 2012.

The oil group also claimed the TNK-BP disposal had helped net debt reduce from $31 billion to $17.7 billion during the 12 months to March 2013. Gearing was calculated to be 11.9%, and within the lower half of the firm's 10%-20% target range.

Notably, BP said the gain following TNK-BP disposal would be exempt from UK corporation tax under the provisions of the substantial shareholdings exemption introduced for U.K, companies in 2002.

Today's first-quarter figures also confirmed a dividend of US$0.09 per share and US$834 million spent on share buybacks.

Bob Dudley, BP's chief executive, said: "These strong first-quarter results demonstrate the progress BP is making in delivering the performance milestones that support our 10-point plan and underpin our commitment to material operating cash flow growth by 2014."

Annualising today's quarterly figures gives potential earnings of about 57 pence per share and a possible dividend of around 23 pence per share. Those projections equate to a P/E of eight and yield of 4.9%.

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Maynard Paton has no position in any stocks mentioned. 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.