Any blemish on BP (NYSE: BP) and Transocean (NYSE: RIG) because of the recent rig explosion and oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico is especially a shame in the face of BP's solid earnings. Indeed, the company became the first member of Big Oil to tell us about its quarter.

For the period, the company earned $6.08 billion, up from $2.56 billion a year ago. On a replacement profit basis -- which excludes special items and the effects of energy prices on inventories -- the company would have earned $5.65 billion, $900 million higher than analysts expected. Revenue increased more than 50%, to $74.42 billion, from the same quarter of last year.

BP's results bode well for other major oil companies that will follow it in announcing earnings this week. Included in that group is ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM), which just announced a 5% increase in its second-quarter dividend. In BP's case, the big jump in year-on-year earnings was tied to a 74% increase in average liquids prices and the 17% increase the company was able to fetch for its natural gas. Production during the quarter was up just 1% from the first quarter of 2009.

These numbers were announced as BP participates in an effort to stem a major Gulf of Mexico oil slick that resulted from an April 20 explosion on a Transocean rig on which BP was the operator. In addition to leaking oil, 11 workers are missing and presumed dead. The slick yesterday was reported to be about 15 miles off the Louisiana coast and at a size of about 100 miles by 45 miles.

More positively for BP's upstream activities, the company announced during the quarter that it would pay $7.0 billion for Devon (NYSE: DVN) assets in Brazil, Azerbaijan, and the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. Also, the Great White field in the ultra-deepwater Gulf of Mexico began producing oil during the quarter, while the Noel project churned out its first gas. In addition, BP has said it will pay $991 million for Norwegian North Sea assets of Total (NYSE: TOT).

While we all hope the oil leak will be halted quickly, it's difficult not to be impressed by BP's overall progress under CEO Tony Hayward. The company is fast becoming my favorite among the world's super-majors.

Total SA is a Motley Fool Income Investor choice. The Fool owns shares of Devon Energy. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't own shares in any of the companies named above. He does urge you to send along your comments or questions. The Fool has a disclosure policy.