complexity of life (bp, none-bp, etc)

A rather strange accident near the Louisiana creates a new oil leak from an abandoned oil well in Barataria bay, a site that has just been cleaned from BP's spill.... news pieces regarding BP's slimmer future claim that the only unforeseeable is the litigation's aspect... but such events present the complexity of things.
As this is an abandoned well, whose owner is out of business, the Federal Oil Spill Liability Trust will be the one covering the costs of the cleanup. But now, when future damages to the bay are considered, and when BP is sued by people who consider themselves damaged by the environmental damages to the bay, who should they sue ? Will the new cleanup stand to the standards practiced in the recent BP-financed cleanup ? Which contamination was worse ? Which one was more devastating ? It is quite clear that in a complex situation, it is much harder to find the blame....

Although I know the media accepts BP's PR as its coming asset-sale is related to the accumulated payments it expects to pay regarding the gulf disaster, I believe this analysis is inaccurate. I also believe that not all of the assets mentioned as about-to-be-sold are actually considered. It appears analysts just mention names of assets, and sometimes the interests behind these names-dropping are not completely clear.

As I've written earlier, I contest the claims regarding the scope of the spill, and I believe the estimates of BP's possible gulf-related debit are greatly exaggerated. In my mind this has much more to do with BP's damaged safety and environmental reputation, which, regardless of facts, is indeed in a nasty state, mainly due to public's persistence to remember the most recent event, and assess it in a problematic manner, due to many cognitive biases.
The fact that the Obama administration and BP have yet failed to finalize the details of the 20 billion dollar funds, is a clear proof - in my mind - that BP aims at a lower-than-20-billion total cost for the gulf disaster. 

So why then have they announced  that they allocated  32 billion dollars for the costs of the  cost ? why are they saying going to sell 25 to 30 billion dollars worth of assets ? (about 10% of their total asset worth)

Good questions. I might find myself, at the end of the day eating a hat or two, but in my mind this is Public Relations work. Aimed at convincing the scariest, the highest-risk estimators, that BP has prepared for the worse. I believe the Apache deal (approx. 7 billion dollars worth) to be close to cover most, if not all of the damages BP will have to undertake, when the dust covers this affair. But this estimate's worth may be validated, if actual recovery costs do not exceed 5 billions, only in the very long future, after all related legal proceedings end, and such proceedings may take 15-20 years.

If it sounds strange to you, lets not ignore the following bits of info out of a reuters news piece:

BP's leaking well was capped two weeks ago after gushing up to 60,000 barrels per day into the Gulf, ruining fishing and tourism industries and polluting the shoreline with slimy goo.

BP could begin the final procedure to permanently plug the well late next week. [ID:nN26223934]

Two weeks after the well was capped, much of the oil that formed surface slicks has dispersed. Jane Lubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said scientists were analyzing where it had gone.

"We know that a significant amount of the oil has dispersed and been biodegraded by naturally occurring bacteria," she told reporters, adding that while the amount hitting coastlines was decreasing, much more could still come ashore.

"We do know that over 600 miles of the Gulf coast shoreline have already been oiled and some remains on the surface, although the amount on the surface is less and less as our very aggressive efforts to contain it have been successful."

In short, my opinion is that the state of things is much better than news sources present it to be. The well, according to current info, is temporarily but efficiently sealed and on its way to a permanent seal. The leaked oil has been taken care of in the most aggressive manner and by the most intensive efforts  seen in modern history. and BP has been compensating people whose income sources have been directly hit during the spill. I should note that I would be very surprised not to hear in the coming months of a very generous settlement agreement between BP and the families of those who have lost their lives in the disaster, and final compensation agreements with those whose businesses have been hurt during the times .

Which then will leave the only remaining  questions of  -

  1. what are the future environmental and health impacts of the spill ? 
  2. what are the expected costs of legal proceedings with government ? 

if indeed the cleanup effort was as aggressive and successful as it now appears to be, and if BP will be quick to respond to new honest damage claims, while persistently avoiding claims raised by an inefficient and greedy government or chance-seekers, the real outcomes of this affair will be resolved in a not-too-distant future, and shortly afterwards forgotten, by all that have not lost a loved one in the events, as is always the case in such incidents.

That is my opinion of the matters at hand. Now it remains to be seen how wrong or right I am. don't forget to give me positive feedback if I'm right. God knows I'll be handed a few hats if I'm wrong... 

Shortly after a posting this post, during a conversation with a friend, it turned out I need to clarify my interpretation of the term PR. In my opionion, BP's 32 billion estimate is a stock-market-public-relations move, not a general public PR move. I believe they are as aware as  I am to the realistic LONG-TERM risks and opportunities. But in the short term, it is possible that lower courts which are jury based and government officials who are elections-considerations-guided will bring 15-20 billion dollar fines. Fines which will be reduced to less than 10% of the original court/ruling/fine size, but after relatively long proceedings, appeals, maybe even as long and up as  the U.S supreme court. During that time, any news-item regarding such a ruling may jeopardize BP's stock price, an issue which as clearly been in BP's top priorities in the last decade (like most international corporations). But investors, forewarned that BP has already calculated its entire financial alignment towards a worse-case scenario, are less likely to be intimidated by such news, and in some cases, might even be encouraged by lower-than-feared rules.
This is PR, in my mind. 


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