You Decide

Always decide for yourself whether anything posted in my blog has any information you choose to keep.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Federal Law Could Limit BP's Liability Over Oil Spill

We knew the bus was cranked headed in the taxpayers' direction for the ultimate cost of cleanup and higher energy costs.


"Federal Law Could Limit BP's Liability Over Oil Spill

CHRIS KAHN | 05/ 3/10 06:28 PM |

Source The Huffington Post

NEW YORK — The oil spill spreading across the Gulf of Mexico has drained $32 billion from BP's stock market value. Lawsuits, fines, cleanup and reputation-repair are certain to cost the company billions more and could tie up BP for many years to come.

Yet the still-unfolding environmental disaster isn't likely to put one of the world's largest oil companies out of business.

BP PLC earned close to $40 billion in 2008 and 2009 combined, and more than $6 billion in the first three months of 2010.

Exxon Mobil – which shelled out more than $4 billion in cleanup costs and legal payouts after the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska 21 years ago – managed to pull through the disaster just fine. Today it is the world's largest publicly traded oil company.

In the long run, BP will be fine too, said Mark Gilman, an analyst at The Benchmark Co.

"Let's not get hysterical here," he said. "They're going to survive this."

Still, London-based BP will face a litany of challenges as a result of last month's accident, not the least of which will be scrutiny from politicians and regulators in Washington. BP could find itself at a competitive disadvantage when vying for offshore drilling permits if the Obama administration moves ahead with plans to open vast swaths of the U.S. coast to oil exploration.

How much the disaster costs depends on how much worse the spill becomes, and how much fault is ultimately assigned to BP for the oil-rig explosion and fire that caused the spill. The oil company leased the offshore platform from Transocean Ltd. and hired subcontractors, including Halliburton Co., to help drill the well that is now spewing an estimated 200,000 gallons a day.

On Monday, BP gave assurances to shrimpers, oil workers and scores of others that they will be compensated for any "legitimate and objectively verifiable" claims.

BP is spending $6 million a day to contain the oil spill; the federal Oil Pollution Act requires BP to pay the cost of any cleanup work done by government agencies such as the Coast Guard and Homeland Security. But the real costs will come later, when BP starts paying for damage to wildlife, coastal businesses and tourism.

"The worst-case scenario is enormous," said Keith Hall, a New Orleans lawyer who represents oil and gas companies. "There are already a number of wrongful-death and personal injury cases out there. There will be no doubt more."

Fadel Gheit, a market analyst with Oppenheimer & Co., estimated that every day that oil seeps into the gulf, BP loses hundreds of millions of dollars in liability claims. Overall, Gheit estimated BP could pay anywhere between $5 billion and $15 billion for the cleanup, damage claims and lawsuits.

Federal law sets a $75 million limit how much an oil company has to pay for damages such as lost wages and economic suffering. But lawyers said the cap can be lifted if BP is found to have failed to meet federal safeguards or was otherwise grossly negligent.

People can also pursue claims in state court and file for damages through the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, which was established after the Exxon Valdez. The fund, which collects 8 cents from the industry for every barrel of oil produced or imported to the U.S., has about $1.6 billion available to cover damages.

BP, the largest oil and gas producer in the U.S., has been blamed for a number of big accidents in the past decade.

_ An explosion at a BP refinery in Texas City, Texas, in 2005 killed 15 people and injured 170. Regulators in October hit BP with a record $87 million fine for failing to correct safety hazards at the plant. BP is contesting the fine.

_ More than 200,000 gallons of oil spilled from a BP pipeline in Alaska in March 2006, the largest-ever spill on Alaska's North Slope. BP paid about $20 million in fines.

Now, a class-action lawsuit filed in federal court in New Orleans blames BP, Transocean, Halliburton and Cameron International Corp. – a maker of rig equipment – for faulty behavior before and after the April 20 accident.

BP has pointed the finger at its partners. CEO Tony Hayward – who took over BP after the Texas City blast – said Monday on ABC's "Good Morning America" that a failure of Transocean's equipment led to the spill.

David Kotok, chief investment officer of the Sarasota, Fla., money-management firm Cumberland Advisors, said early predictions are likely to understate the fallout from the disaster. Neither the 1969 Santa Barbara, Calif., offshore oil spill nor the Exxon Valdez is a useful comparison because the current slick could be much bigger and harder to contain.

"We're looking at maybe two to three months" of oil flowing into the gulf, he said. "The devastation is huge. This is like Three Mile Island."

Experts say the green image the company cultivated in its advertisements is vulnerable. Market researcher Eileen Campbell valued BP's brand at $17.3 billion, mostly because of its interest in the environment. BP invests in biofuels, wind and solar energy, and it supports capping carbon emissions.

The spill will probably make it tougher for BP to expand in U.S. waters, analysts say.

"BP is under watch now," Gheit said. "They may not be welcome in the area. So if I'm going to issue a permit for BP to drill a well, I'm going to take a much closer look at them."


AP Business Writer David Koenig in Dallas contributed to this report."

I see no mention in the article about what B Ps insurance carrier is going to pay.
These lawsuits will go on for years on end.
Thanks JAP! It's only going to drive energy costs up too.
That's one bus that's never late.
Guess the electric showers weren't working fast enough.
Don't forget the coming rise in food prices -- of other meats and also grain.
Thanks Time*treat! Yeah and we're going to be figuratively thrown under that bus when it arrives. Everything is going to skyrocket price wise ..... hmmm maybe rationing. Ain't gonna be pretty.
Post a Comment

<< Home


September 2021   August 2021   July 2021   June 2021   May 2021   April 2021   March 2021   February 2021   January 2021   December 2020   November 2020   October 2020   September 2020   August 2020   July 2020   June 2020   May 2020   April 2020   March 2020   February 2020   January 2020   December 2019   November 2019   October 2019   September 2019   August 2019   July 2019   June 2019   May 2019   April 2019   March 2019   February 2019   January 2019   December 2018   November 2018   October 2018   September 2018   August 2018   July 2018   June 2018   May 2018   April 2018   March 2018   February 2018   January 2018   December 2017   November 2017   October 2017   September 2017   August 2017   July 2017   June 2017   May 2017   April 2017   March 2017   February 2017   January 2017   December 2016   November 2016   January 2013   October 2011   September 2011   August 2011   July 2011   June 2011   May 2011   March 2011   January 2011   December 2010   October 2010   September 2010   August 2010   July 2010   June 2010   May 2010   April 2010   March 2010   February 2010   January 2010   December 2009   November 2009   October 2009   September 2009   August 2009   July 2009   June 2009   May 2009   April 2009   March 2009   February 2009   January 2009   December 2008   November 2008   October 2008   September 2008   August 2008   July 2008   June 2008   May 2008   April 2008   March 2008   February 2008   January 2008   December 2007   November 2007   October 2007   April 2007   March 2007   February 2007   January 2007   December 2006   November 2006   October 2006   September 2006   August 2006   July 2006   June 2006   May 2006   April 2006   March 2006   February 2006   January 2006   December 2005   November 2005   October 2005   September 2005   August 2005   July 2005   June 2005   March 2005   November 2004   October 2004  

Powered by Lottery PostSyndicated RSS FeedSubscribe