Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Money, money, money, money... mon-ey

In all this talk about the massive oil spill in the Gulf, too often the focus has been on things like the marine life, the coastal ecosystem, and the citizens of the Gulf Coast. Sure, a rare tern, whale or citizen of New Orleans covered in oil is a very sad thing, but will no one think of the poor oil company? What about BP? Think of their bottom line. This whole crisis must be putting a severe strain on their finances, right?

Not so much.
For now, at least, BP’s prodigious costs combating the oil spill in the Gulf are outweighed by prodigious profits.

On Monday, BP said it spent $350 million in the first 20 days of the spill response, about $17.5 million a day. It has paid 295 of the 4,700 claims received, for a total of $3.5 million. By contrast, in the first quarter of the year, the London-based oil giant’s profits averaged $93 million a day.
Oh thank God. I was worried there that this was going to cause additional blowback in the ivory backscratcher and yachting wear markets. Turns out the daily clean-up, payouts, buyoffs, and sadly comical failed attempts to actually stop gushing oil from flowing into the sea barely make a dent in their profits.

But I am worried about what will happen when they finally get the leak capped, sometime in 2011. I mean that's when the big cleanup costs will come due and BP might have to make due with only making a couple billion or so in profit for a quarter. They won't be able to write that shit off!

Just kidding, if someone other than the American taxpayer has to foot the bill, I'll die of shock. And even if they end up having to pay, say, $5 billion... like Exxon was ordered to after the Valdez tanker crash, they can just tie it up in court for decades before finally getting to the Supreme Court, where conservative justices 5-4 you down to a measly $507.5 million, like, say, happened to Exxon after the Valdez tanker crash. So don't worry about BP, it'll all work out for them in the end. It always does. $93 million a day.

No comments: