Damage to the Gulf of Mexico from the BP/Deepwater Horizon spill may take years, even decades to fully measure. Viewed from the perspective of dollars and cents, however, the disaster appears to have had minimal effect on BP. As AP reports, “The oil giant at the center of one of the world’s biggest environmental crises is making strong profits again, its stock has largely rebounded, and it is paying dividends to shareholders once more. It is also pursuing new ventures from the Arctic to India. It is even angling to explore again in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, where it holds more leases than any competitor.”
Arguably, BP’s gotten off easy. However, there’s more to this story: In spite of its many early miscues, BP’s relatively robust balance sheets in many ways are “a testament to some deft handling of the crisis by the company, which . . . conducted a housecleaning in its executive ranks, adopted a careful communications strategy and assigned an outsider to handle victims’ compensation claims.” This may come as cold comfort to those in the regions most affected by environmental damage and economic hardship from the oil spill–nor does it indemnify BP from the hundreds of criminal and civil lawsuits pending. But the idea that BP could emerge from this disaster more or less intact is a credit to long-term thinking on the part of the firm’s current leadership (and maybe the short attention span of people not directly affected by the spill…)
Of Related Interest: Los Angeles Times evaluates books about the BP disaster.
Drowning in Oil author, Loren Steffy, stands out for ‘[demonstrating] what a veteran journalist in oil country can bring to bear on a story that was unfamiliar to the majority of the country.”