BP’s $61.6-Billion Bill for Deepwater Horizon a ‘Really Scary Number’
At least one U.S. analyst says it’s a “miracle” that fossil giant BP is still in operation after incurring US$61.6-billion in costs—$44 billion after taxes—due to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
The epic blowout killed 11 workers, sank the oil rig, and leaked at least 3.19 million barrels of crude into the Gulf over 87 days.
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“It’s a really scary number,” oil analyst Fadel Gheit of Oppenheimer & Co. told the Washington Post. “Before the accident, BP had a market capitalization of $180 billion. The accident actually shaved off one-third of the market capitalization of the company. It’s a miracle that the company is still in business.”
Gheit added: “We’re lucky that BP was not a small company, because at the end of the day, the government would have shouldered the entire weight of the accident.”
The Post notes that $61.6 billion is greater than the market capitalization of the two next-largest integrated oil companies in the U.S., ConocoPhillips and Occidental Petroleum. “BP paid all sorts of people, including shrimp fishermen on the Louisiana coast, motels in Mississippi, school districts in Florida, and the Environmental Protection Agency, which received $4 billion in criminal fines and more than $14 billion in Clean Water Act penalties and compensation for natural resource damages,” the paper reports. Even with that settlement, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group contended that BP caught a big break on the final penalty.