I suppose that if the great Willie Nelson were an oilman, rather than an iconic Texas troubadour, he'd have warbled "You Were Always on My Mind" repeatedly to BP (NYSE: BP) of late. But given the company's troubled year, its Wednesday earnings report was largely anticlimactic, basically portraying an oil company performing typical oil company functions.

Looking first at the earnings generated by the London-based member of Big Oil, BP's net profit for the quarter came to $7.12 billion, compared with $6.08 for the same quarter of 2010. Total revenue reached $88.31 billion, versus $74.42 billion, an 18.7% increase year-on-year. At the same time, its replacement cost profit -- a measure that backs out the effects of changes in the valuation of inventories and certain other items -- was $5.48 billion, compared with $5.60 in the year-ago quarter.

Oil and gas production for the quarter averaged 3.58 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, an 11% slide from the initial quarter last year. However, after eliminating the effects of asset sales and purchases, along with production-sharing agreements, the year-on-year slippage was 7%. The financial results were affected by a more than 30% increase in its realization for liquids, while those for natural gas were virtually flat.

As the company noted in disclosing its quarterly results, the drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico was the primary difference-maker in the quarter's production. In addition, BP undertook additional turnaround (maintenance) activity, especially in the North Sea and Angola, as part of increasing its spending on safety in general.

During the year since the horrendous events surrounding the blowout of the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, BP has shed itself of about $22 billion in assets, essentially beginning with $7 billion in asset sales to Apache (NYSE: APA) in the U.S., Canada, and Egypt. Simultaneously, it inked new deals in China, India, and Australia. It also will pay India's Reliance Industries $7.2 billion for a partnership in several offshore oil blocks.

BP has also managed to enter into additional squabbles of late. For instance, with a strong (and understandable) desire to share the blame for the Macondo blowout and Deepwater Horizon apocalypse, it recently has filed lawsuits against Transocean (NYSE: RIG) the rig's owner, Halliburton (NYSE: HAL), which provided the cementing on the well, and Cameron International (NYSE: CAM), the designer and manufacturer of the rig's malfunctioning blowout preventer.

It also has been sparring yet again with its Russian partners in its TNK-BP venture, following an agreement for BP to team up with Russia's big oil company Rosneft in the exploration of the country's promising arctic. While the Russian oligarchs have managed to have the BP-Rosneft deal halted, at least temporarily, one of the billionaires has recently expressed a willingness to consider selling out of TNK-BP, should he and his compatriots receive an "interesting proposal."

Given all of the above, and despite its current imitation of an oil company, a relatively cheap BP clearly merits the attention of Fools with a yen for energy. A great way to remain abreast of the company's frenetic activities is to designate it on the Fool's free stock tracking services, MyWatchlist.

Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't have financial positions in any of the companies named above. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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