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Would a bid for BP be good or bad?

Robert Peston | 09:34 UK time, Monday, 12 July 2010

BP this morning confirmed - among other things - that it has floated 587.12 miles of "containment boom" on the waters around the Gulf coast. So this famous shoreline is framed with inflatable plastic tubing longer than the distance from Edinburgh to Paris, to help prevent oil washing up on the beaches of Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Texas and Florida.

A containment boom near the shoreline of the Gulf coast

I think we can safely conclude that manufacturers of this stuff, among others, are becoming rich on the back of the impoverishment of BP's shareholders. And with $3.5bn already spent by BP on limiting the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, BP is responsible for something of a mini Keynesian stimulus in the South East of the US.

Not that anyone with common sense expects the local community - rightly fearful for its fishing industry, tourism and wildlife - to be grateful. But it is an iron law of business that an ill wind usually creates business opportunities.

The most obvious manifestation of that dictum are the corporate vultures circling BP, attracted by a share price that's 42% where it was before the debacle in April - although in the last few days BP's market value has increased by more than a quarter.

At the head of the ominous colony of potential scavengers and predators are Exxon, the world's biggest oil company, and Chevron. They're salivating over all BP's assets, but especially its huge US operations.

And then there's a Godfatherish quote in this morning's FT from the head of investor relations at PetroChina, the largest listed oil and gas producer in China:

"Our first reaction was how to help BP to quickly fix the problem... If there was some opportunity to work more closely together, we would welcome that".

Now, in a rational world, BP would be completely invulnerable to the circling hordes of hunters. Because the owners of the company, its shareholders, would be bonkers to even contemplate selling until they can quantify the long-term damage from the debacle, which is the sine qua non of establishing a fair price for the company.

It is, for example, perfectly possible to construct an argument that says the fair price for BP is only a few percentage points below where it was before the leak, even if the financial costs of the clear-up and compensation are well over $20bn - so long as you see those costs as, in effect, an increase in BP's long term debts or gearing.

But of course markets are not great repositories of rational thinking and behaviour, as I think we've had confirmed (if such were needed) over the past few volatile years.

So the board of BP was badly shaken when the implicit cost of borrowing for the company soared last month, because of apocalyptic fears that the pollution would never be staunched. And the directors are painfully aware that the ownership of the company will shift inexorably towards hedge funds and speculators who are only in it for the promise of a takeover or similar "value enhancing" deal.

As of now, however, the BP board appears to be holding its nerve - and concentrating all efforts on plugging the leak. Questions such as "who should own BP?", "who should be its chairman and chief executive?" and "should BP issue new equity?" have been put on the "après le deluge" list of business, when the permanent wreckage to reputation and financial prospects can be more calmly assessed.

In fact, the directors should probably be grateful for the speculation about opportunistic takeovers - because it has, for the first time in weeks, put some positive momentum behind the price of its shares and debt. That creates a slightly more benign financial climate for multi-faceted, climactic efforts to put a new cap on the leak, siphon more from the failed blowout preventer and - in a matter of weeks - stuff the leak up with "heavy" material.

During this short respite, before BP faces some kind of takeover bid (which it's reasonable to assume will surface in the autumn), governments and investors need to consider whether one lesson of this monumental mess is whether big is altogether good in oil.

Is there a credible case for saying that the bigger the company, the smaller the sense of personal responsibility over any well of that company's chief executive, and the greater the risk of disaster? Are the cost advantages of scale offset by the heightened risks stemming from the elongated chain of responsibility that also comes with scale?

It is at least moot whether the long term stable solution for BP is to subsume this already huge business into another company so enormous as to defy comprehension.

Quite apart from the traditional arguments about the harm to consumers from any diminution of healthy competition, mightn't the risks for investors and for society of further calamitous accidents be maximised if BP were devoured by another oil monster?


  • Comment number 1.

    So much talk about money and not a single word about the TRUE cost of the killing of wildlife in the region. This illustrates perfectly well our fixation with money. It's a total disgrace to humanity!

    If we, for example, get attacked by aliens, we will be quickly defeated for we will waste time arguing who's going to fit the bill for defense.

    The monetary system is destroying the nations and the habitat.

  • Comment number 2.

    Yep, the value of BP is far more important than the very air and water that is being poisoned by this company. Why are BP preventing media from filming any of the beaches? Why are they not honouring the payments to fishermen in a timely fashion? Why is the sea bed leaking oil in a multitude of places now? Why is nobody publishing air quality studies?

    Let's keep on worrying about how much imaginary wealth BP are producing and let's ignore the plight of 20 million plus people that could potentially have their lives destroyed in the name of profit.

  • Comment number 3.

    The biggest cock up in BP's history but I suspect no one will be responsible and if the CE and Chairman have to leave I dont think they will need to sign on. The questions of corporate governance will remain a debating subject when what is needed is the prospects of jail for senior executives who clearly by default or even choice take their eye off the ball.

  • Comment number 4.

    Not only nobody can tell about the long term consequences, but the leak isn't even plugged.
    It's all frantic betting while the engineers are trying all they can imagine - and for what I can read on they have other worries than advantage of scale.

  • Comment number 5.

    Never mind the environmental disaster, what about those who lost their lives, that can never be put right just alleviated by paying money.
    The compensation culture means that the area will get a shot in the arm - just think of all those lawyers making a killing on the suffering of others. Makes bankers seem almost respectable.
    If BP had nurtured its private shareholders instead of encouraging the shares to be held by the institutions it would be a lot less vulnerable to unwelcome suitors. If all companies did it the hated hedgies would have a hard time.
    If you actually do things you take a risk. We need more risk takers, not less.

  • Comment number 6.

    > Is there a credible case for saying that the bigger the company, the
    > smaller the sense of personal responsibility

    Big structures, like governments and supermajors, act abominably. They are staffed by neurotic, psychotic, pig-headed politicians and schizophrenic, ego-centric, paranoiac, prima-donnas. Just look at the waste, the greed, the futile wars and the stupid pollution caused by the squares who run these behemoth organizations.

    Look, now we are breaking them all down to human-scale. They'll become responsive, humble and agile. There is no excuse for carrying on with such colossal and lumbering organizations. It's all over for those guys when we put in the hurdles against consolidation.

    Say no to behemoths - you know it makes sense.

  • Comment number 7.

    I deplore the cost to the ecosystem and the lives of the people who derive a living from the affected Gulf. I think BP and other oil company's will never change and always operate in the same way due to the manner in which the whole world relies on crude oil. The deepwater blowout in the gulf has only done one thing, and that is to increase the longterm upward pressure on the price of oil, from which who will profit? (no prizes for guessing). I think if the price of oil was to rise enough over the next 2-4 years, the cost of the cleanup and any punitive fines placed on BP by the US Govt will soon be recouped. To tie it all into a financial context (seeing as this is a business blog), I don't think BP shares will be where they are for very long, I am certain city dealmakers are busy working on a bid for BP, which could be long and drawn out and go the way Prudential's bid of AIA went due to a similar shareholder demographic, or the market will wake up and realise BP was heavily oversold during this time.

    Moral of the story: Big money always wins and like everything this will become an event confined to the history books (i.e. wikipedia) and life will go on, till we reach the next disaster. *sigh*

  • Comment number 8.

    BP should pay for the clean-up and definately look at its corporate governance but all those people condemming them should ask themselves how do they put fuel in their car, how many plastic objects do they own, how do the groceries get to the stores they buy and how difficult is it becoming to obtain the fossil fuels we have made ourselves totally reliant on? Exxon, Shell etc all have polluted land & coasts globally none of them have been free of accidents and for as long as we attempt to extract oil in deep water accidents will happen its highly risky. Americans baying for BP blood should also ask themselves where were they when hundreds died at the hands of Union Carbide at Bhopal and why no American executives were ever charged or imprisonned? Its hypocritical to only have concerns if it happens in the gulf of Mexico.

  • Comment number 9.

    With regard to the first sentence of your second paragraph, Robert, would you have BP simply do nothing?!!

    These booms may well be too little too late but give them credit for doing something. It's easy to criticise from your ivory tower viewed far away from the "scene of the crime".


    Improverished shareholder.

  • Comment number 10.

    I suspect there will be many BP shareholders talking up a takeover to try to recover the 50% they have lost. A US takeover would be best in view of the double standards, comparing the BP $20bn escrow account to the way US company’s do everything to limit litigation or avoid liability in situations like Bhopal and others.

  • Comment number 11.

    Robert wrote:

    "Would a bid be good or bad?"

    Really Robert!!!! Good or Bad for whom and for what?

    The obvious answers:

    If I purchased shares (or options) at lees that the offer priced then good ish depending on whether they subsequently go up of not. (and all of the other logical conditions relating to the price of share purchase and sale)

    Good the UK (well provided Shell did not buy BP) as there should be a marginal reduction of the risk of bad publicity for the UK if something else goes wrong - but time will cure that anyway.

    Probably bad for the wildlife as the risks of another disaster will be swept under the metaphorical carpet and the World, led by the USA will remain wedded to big oil (which is a problem going forward).

    Really a bit of a non-question Robert - I know it is Monday morning but....

    Other stories today: Institute of Chartered Accountants have done the sums that we all know about and come up with £1.9 trillion as the UK Government Debt (rather than 900bn) - isn't financial honesty important - I guess your answer is 'no' just let the tabloids (and bankers!) set the agenda!

    Oily Brown Pelicans 1 Rational Finance 0

    (I am not saying that the environmental disaster of leaking oil does not matter - just that that will clear itself up in a decade, but unless we get a grip of financial regulation and are honest about the way we live we could be in for a disaster that will kick all previous depressions into a cocked hat - and nobody seems to give a toss! - are you all in on the conspiracy of silence?)

  • Comment number 12.

    The racket from US citizens is deafening, when anything touches their wonderful country. When a US corporation, Union Carbide, destroys the lives of thousands in India, and then does all in its power to avoid paying proper compensation, it is the silence from the US that is deafening. A nation of self-centred, selfish hypocrites.

  • Comment number 13.

    Thanks for the thoughtful article Robert.

    Internally I believe BP needs to take a close look at the quality of its senior management, and how they get there. I don't believe the situation has been managed at all well and few people are happy with the current financial, engineering, or environmental outcomes.

    While I think a root and branch examination of BP's internal systems for promoting senior managers is essential, I agree with the thinking behind your final question and I'd rather see BP remain independent.

  • Comment number 14.

    Is it just coincidence that Obama lays into BP far more than necessary to achieve minimum environmental impacts - to the point that their share price plummets. He continues to publicly criticise them ignoring their US partners and the US regulator who played major parts in enabling the disaster - causing BP's share price to plummet further. He extracts (through some unknown secret threats that took place behind closed doors) far far more money that their legal obligations causing share price to plummet yet further. and now he has given the main US oil company permission to investigate taking over BP at a knock down price.

    Set-up job or what ?

  • Comment number 15.

    The damage done to BP's share price has been immense much due to the speculation mainly emanating from the US that this spill could make BP bankrupt and the anti-BP/British rhetoric.

    Perhaps all a good way for the US to secure BP's worldwide oil assets for a song, thereby stripping many British shareholders/pension funds of value and reinforcing how useless Britain is today.

    And what will Cameron/Clegg do? Say "And what can we do for you next, Sir? (PS Hasn't Blair done well in the US since leaving office)"

  • Comment number 16.

    It's oil wealth. Without oil there wouldn't be a U.S.A, (other than its intrinsic land mass.) The place is all about cars and trucks and 8 lane highways.

    Their politicians are a bit hopping mad (Obama seemed like it,) their money men are a bunch of users looking "for an opportunity," their people, as ever, cave in to the money men and are the losers, in some cases everything. Meanwhile the envirnoment is quietly being trashed. Forever?

    But is it fair to name and shame those interested in a possible BP takeover as, "an ominous colony of potential scavengers and predators are Exxon, the world's biggest oil company, and Chevron." ? Indeed it is.

    Will this cheery business news make all US personnel, sorry people, forget the troubles of The Gulf, the Mexican one, so they can get back to 8 lane trucking without feeling guilty about things?

    If only the US money men weren't all crooks......ah well naivety won't get you anywhere.

  • Comment number 17.

    How many times have the spivs told us that shareholders will force the board to act ethically?

    In that case, while there is still a mess to be cleared, decades of medical bills to be paid, then why are there any vultures circling at all? Nope, the market is not ethical. We knew that anyway, because if the market was ethical, BP with an atrocious history of leaks would have been a non-company in an ethical market.

  • Comment number 18.

    Robert, you are right when you say that should another oil major take over BP, it wouldn't in any way be a good thing for us (as consumers) or ours or the US governments. Fewer players in the industry means less power to the majority and more power to the minority. BP's market value may be under half of Exxons but the company is of comparable size in assets and operations. Exxon would be doubling its size overnight and have huge, unwaivering political and financial influence in almost all of the countries it operates in.

    This is surely in the national interests (if not international interests) to protect BP from such a vulture. BP had failed and may have been negligent so it deserves to be reprimanded but you can't punish a company so much it is on the brink of collapse because that is in nobody's interest and the fallout would be worse than the situation before. The markets are being callous in their fear over potential losses from this, they are acting as though BP will have to pay $20bn by COB tomorrow rather than the long and protracted affair that is likely to happen.

    If collapse of takeover is the outcome the only company with operations in the Gulf would be the BP hybrid goliath because it will be the only company that would have the financial confidence and size to be able to withstand the political and financial headwinds that come with potential accidents. The influence such a company would be able to exert is just simpy unacceptable and quite terrifying.

  • Comment number 19.

    Quite apart from the traditional arguments about the harm to consumers from any diminution of healthy competition, mightn't the risks for investors and for society of further calamitous accidents be maximised if BP were devoured by another oil monster?

    Robert, tut, tut, tut!

    And will those companies responsible for the mess in Nigeria be helping consumers by buying up BP? No company that poisons the earth, poisons entire communities benefits me as a consumer.

  • Comment number 20.

    1. At 10:07am on 12 Jul 2010, plamski
    2. At 10:24am on 12 Jul 2010, SimplySimon

    Well said.

    12. At 11:44am on 12 Jul 2010, jeelypiece wrote:

    This will go on and on. Disaster after disaster. What we need to do is change the laws governing companies. We need to make them work in the interests of us, not go all out maximising profit no matter what they cost to communities or the planet. We need some decent behaviour, some real responsibility enshrined in law.

  • Comment number 21.

    14. At 11:54am on 12 Jul 2010, DeimosL

    Obama is only talking. Not much else.

    I'd put all the bosses of BP and all the other companies invovled in the slammer for centuries!

  • Comment number 22.

    As usual - everything is measured in monetary terms. What a sad world we live in.

  • Comment number 23.

    Interesting article.

    How does this financial activity benefit society?

    Is is just an opportunity to further increase the division of wealth - without creating value for humankind? As Robert's choice of language seems to suggest.

  • Comment number 24.

    While I would much prefer to see an independent BP, if it came down to selling the company I would much rather see it going to the Chinese than to a US major. It is the US politicans who have spent so much effort talking down the Company and hence the share price. I suspect the real reason for that is to create the situation where a US major can step in and save the day.
    Funny how most of the problems that BP have are in the old Amocco and Arco businesses. Seems to me that the problem is not with BP itself, but with the management of these "American" companies and BP management's failure to fix them.

  • Comment number 25.

    14. At 11:54am on 12 Jul 2010, DeimosL

    15. At 11:57am on 12 Jul 2010, whatever


    Both your points are very valid. Seems like BP has been pounded quite nicely by Obama and co. However I strongly believe BP won't be bought by or sold to anyone else. A cash injection from a SWF at a knock down price may happen (a la Barclays & Qatar) but for a takeover, approval is needed by the BP shareholders, who all know how much of a cash cow BP is. Its a money printing machine that even dwarfes the city pyramid schemes (banks), they all know the instrinsic value in BP and the cost to BP is the equivalent to a write down of some magnitude against its annual earnings, it could even amortize that cost over numerous years. Remember the board and senior management fought tooth and nail to still pay a dividend and only gave in reluctantly. Not many other company's look after their shareholders this way. I am sure the long term shareholders of BP won't give up the goose that laid the golden egg that easily. I would be extremely gutted if the govt didn't step in as well, otherwise I may even pack my bags and live in America seeing as we never exercise our sovereign independance anyway (i.e. WMD, wars, extraordinary rendition of british citizens).

  • Comment number 26.

    @ 21. At 12:20pm on 12 Jul 2010, copperDolomite wrote:

    > I'd put all the bosses of BP and all the other companies invovled in
    > the slammer for centuries!

    Yeah, but not just oil firms, either. How come Sir Greedie is still on the loose?

    Why don't we have a man-hunt and chase him though the woods? Just because we wears a suit doesn't mean special treatment - get the credit crunch and pollution perps behind bars, where we can keep an eye on them.

  • Comment number 27.

    My brother (a long-term US resident) made an interesting observation regarding US.

    Historically US has grown on the back of exports, buoyant internal markets and energy independance. In recent years, at least two of these have been reversed with growth in imports and reliance on 'dodgy' uncontrollable oil sources such as Venezuela and Arabian Gulf.

    I suspect USA will have to undergo a very major cultural change in it's view of foreigners, or will have to accept risks inherent with deepsea and other unpalatable oil production sources if they want to maintain current oil usage levels associated with current lifestyle - either that or accept lifestyle changes (another difficult cultural issue).
    It seems BP have been sailing close to the wind on SHE (Safety/Health/Environment) issues, possibly on back of previous CEO's approaches - the only way to stop this is regulation, audit and punitive penalties, potentially including criminal sanctions on Company officers. All companies work on a cost-benefit and/or risk based approach, we need to increase the costs relative to benefits if the balance is wrong, and up the risk potential for decision makers.

  • Comment number 28.

    # 21. copperDolomite: ...bosses of the slammer
    # 26. Jacques Cartier: How come Sir Greedie is still on the loose?

    He's holed up in Scotland in a 3.5 million pad - high walls, high security.

    All we need to do is put the keyhole on the *other* side of the gate.

  • Comment number 29.

    Why is my comment taking a while to appear?? Sorry to use this method to contact you but I didn't break any of the house rules.

  • Comment number 30.


    Shame that not one single contributor, so far, acknowledges that without BP, there might be no internet postings, as the electricity generated by the power stations, that drives their PC's (or the BBC's infrastructure and the in-between systems) most likely - in part- comes from BP - via oil, gas, solar or wind.
    Their PC's were likely delivered via transport driven by BP fuels, their transport to and from work also.
    Maybe not all of it, but enough of it to be measurable.

    And their pensions are affected by how well BP does, which impacts on the FTSE.
    Shame that such a successful company should be so heavily criticised.

    Yes, the oil well sprang a leak, oil is in the ocean (and it is a natural product out of the ground after all even if horribly messy).

    But business is business. No-one ever said it was perfect or even had to be.

    The US has more a financial interest to lose in BP than anyone else.

    Which is why they are so mad that something has gone wrong!

    Any accident such as this always attracts the doomsday merchants and the anarchistic detractors.

    Remember, it is still an accident, until proven otherwise.

    Invest in BP shares. Keep BP out of the hands of the hedgehogs and let's keep at least one company in (part at least) British ownership!

  • Comment number 31.

    When you hear a wake up call, you should wake up.

    Warning Warning - space family Robinson
    Look out for that iceberg
    That kind of thing

    Instead, we are sleepwalking into another fine mess!

  • Comment number 32.


    Looks like BP have linked up with China Petroleum in Rumaila - to run the largest Iraqi oil-field.

    That should push the share price up!

    Now for that "SPOOKY GOLD SELL OFF STORY" - is someone looking for cash to buy into BP perhaps?

    Let's hope its not Barclays - it would only be bad for BP and more to the point, are Barclays that broke?

  • Comment number 33.

    Mr Lyndon Larouche's webcast on Obama & BP Oil Disaster

  • Comment number 34.

    30. sanity4all wrote: ...Shame that not one single contributor, so far, acknowledges...
    Agreed. But brownfield sites are testimony that business often doesn't clean up after itself. The US changed the oil rules at the time of the Exxon Valdez - no more $75million cap on cleanup. Now BP is having to put right its mess. Public opinion still has some way to go to make businesses more responsible, I feel, so I think there is some justification for hysterical comments. Although Bhopal is not entirely relevant as attitudes were different 20 years ago, there's still oil spills in Nigeria and European radioactive waste on Somaliland beaches so plenty more to be done. If we all kept quiet, nothing would happen.

  • Comment number 35.

    27. At 12:56pm on 12 Jul 2010, SpannermanPete

    Sailing close to the wind! You might want to read this report from Scott West, former top investigator at the Environmental Protection Agency.

    There are other reports out there that are relevant:
    Abrahm Lustgarten., investigative reporter at 'Years of Internal BP Probes Warned that Neglect Could Lead to Accidents'.

    Tim Dickinson (political correspondent for Rolling Stone magazine), 'The Spill, the Scandal, and the President'

    And then there is the report about bribery of Department of the Interior staff by oilmen between 2002 and 2006. Inspector General Earl Devaney says the Bush administration-era Interior Department has had “a culture of ethical failure.”

    I'd be interested in seeing the employment, political and funding history of Salazar (secretary of the Interior), his underlings and those who held the jobs previously.

  • Comment number 36.

    28. At 1:21pm on 12 Jul 2010, PacketRat

    shame it isn't the high walls and security of HMP Barlinnie or HMP Peterhead!

  • Comment number 37.

    The chances of a successful bid for BP are pretty close to zero.

    1. A bid by a large US oil major is unlikely to pass EU competition rules and Cameron would be well advised to veto it under UK rules to send a message to the more rabid elements of the US politicians.

    2. A bid by the Chinese would be vetoed by the US politicians probably on the grounds of access to US assets - after all US politicians do not exactly love China and they have form with vetoing takeovers even from friendly countries, eg Dubai Ports.

    In many ways the market is being entirely rationale. At the moment whether or not the leak can be fixed is, at least as I understand the science, still not certain. Until the leak is fixed and therefore the costs can be ascertained with a least some certainty why should the markets provide money to BP? It is ultra high risk at the moment.

  • Comment number 38.

    You present BP as some lame song bird in the marsh viewed as prey by others. Shall we remind as to the cause of the situation. When elephants fight it is the grass that is trampled. Shareholders hould have cautioned about managment short-cutting satfey features to increase profits....consequences can be harsh.

  • Comment number 39.

    30. At 1:41pm on 12 Jul 2010, sanity4all

    If the US were interested in their financial interests in the way that any normal adult would, then maybe they should have made their own environmental assessments rather than depending on oil companies to do it for them, if at all! I mean how immature is to to think that these companies have no agenda and are thoroughly honest? It isn't their (BP) track record.

  • Comment number 40.

    33. At 2:13pm on 12 Jul 2010, plamski wrote:

    Mr Lyndon Larouche's webcast on Obama & BP Oil Disaster


    Was that recorded on the night of the full moon? I didn't know that "care in the community" had spread to the USA.

  • Comment number 41.

    Is a full takeover of BP really realistic? Getting this through the various competition authorities would be a nightmare and take forever. The only comparable deal we've seen was one involving two mining companies (BHP and Xstrata if I remember correctly). 18 months or so and several rounds of negotations with regulators later, the companies decided it was all too hard, and dropped the idea.

    Far more likely are the other ideas being discussed: capital raising from "friendly" strategic partners such as SWFs, and/or sale of specific assets, which will be far easier to agree with competition authorities. Both options will deliver cash to BP far faster than anything involving a full takeover.

  • Comment number 42.


    LONDON (AFP) – BP is in talks to sell up to 12 billion dollars (9.5 billion euros) of assets, including a substantial stake in a giant Alaskan oil field, to Apache Corporation, the Sunday Times reported.

    BP is already having to sell good assets to the US to pay for their mess.

  • Comment number 43.

    30. At 1:41pm on 12 Jul 2010, sanity4all wrote:
    Shame that not one single contributor, so far, acknowledges that without BP, there might be no internet postings, as the electricity generated by the power stations, that drives their PC's (or the BBC's infrastructure and the in-between systems) most likely - in part- comes from BP - via oil, gas, solar or wind.
    Their PC's were likely delivered via transport driven by BP fuels, their transport to and from work also.
    It is precisely because companies like BP have such an invasive impact on our lives that they should not simply operate on the maxim of "business is business". They should be forced to have higher principles and ensure that their company is run ethically in the interests of not just the shareholders, but all of the people who are, in effect, stakeholders in the company.

    Big Business is far too dirty a game to be allowed to hold the general public to ransome. The US govt. is just as guilty as BP in only setting the bare-minimum when it came to regulation, and then not even properly enforcing it, just as the British govt. should be held accountable re. the appalling regulation of the City leading up to its collapse.

  • Comment number 44.

    40. At 3:26pm on 12 Jul 2010, jeelypiece wrote:
    Was that recorded on the night of the full moon? I didn't know that "care in the community" had spread to the USA.

    Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit

  • Comment number 45.

    32. At 1:54pm on 12 Jul 2010, costmeabob wrote:
    "Now for that "SPOOKY GOLD SELL OFF STORY" - is someone looking for cash to buy into BP perhaps?"

    If the BIS are involved, that is THE Top Tier, nothing goes higher, and they're all trying to hush it up? It must be serious.

    This lot should be calming market fears, not hiding things. Only why would a lender of last resort want Gold as security, if it doesn't trust the sovereign debt holder? Trust being the operative word here. Surely at this level things should be whiter than white? If it's a "routine" deal why the secrecy?

    Yet another example of our fabulous money men, keeping everthing on an even keel for themselves. Lovely!

  • Comment number 46.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 47.

    38. At 2:45pm on 12 Jul 2010, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    You present BP as some lame song bird in the marsh viewed as prey by others. Shall we remind as to the cause of the situation. When elephants fight it is the grass that is trampled. Shareholders hould have cautioned about managment short-cutting satfey features to increase profits....consequences can be harsh.


    Thank you.

    This absurd blog post was nothing more than shrill apologetics, deflecting BP from all responsibility in both how this situation evolved and how BP has handled it.

    Similarly, this EDITOR has deflected the shareholders from any responsibility or liability. They bought into a big company that takes big risks. For those caught up on the "USA vs British" aspect of this, keep in mind that BP stocks are owned in the USA as well...

  • Comment number 48.

    About time Robert started to draft his piece on Tony Hayward's vast bonus/payoff/salary rise which will probably be announced a month or so after the well is capped. The heat is off the bankers for a bit anyway.

    But I cannot see any reason why a CEO of a large company has to behave with any less 'personal responsibility' than a CEO of a small one, except this: a large company is more likely to have a greater proportion of large institutional shareholders. And I feel it it those bodies - pension funds and the like - that have let several large corporations fall into such poor management.

    In contrast, look at the shareholder message boards of AIM listed and other small companies, and you'll find private investors taking a keen, almost fanatical interest in the conduct of the companies they have shares in.

  • Comment number 49.

    If I was a share holder I would be considering suing the USA government,if Obama's excessive announcements have destroyed shared value only to smooth the way for BP be taken over at a cheap price by a USA company

  • Comment number 50.

    good or bad for BP does not enter into it. let the chips fall where they may. many people would NOT rue if BP did fall on its own sword.

  • Comment number 51.

    Dear Robert,

    Appreciate your thoughts. Your observation that corporate vultures are salivating all over BP's assets, but especially its huge US operations, is a fair one. But then again, BP is – still is – a corporate vulture in itself having swooped for strategic assets wherever it deemed fit. That’s the nature of the industry.

    I do have a couple of observations. Firstly, the media’s fascination with the PetroChina comment is understandable, but I feel it is a non-starter. Drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is crucial to the petroleum security of the United States. So while BP may ditch its assets or rather be forced by circumstances to ditch its assets, a Chinese presence there even as part of a project finance consortium, would be highly unpalatable for both Republicans and Democrats alike. I doubt if we’ll see a Chinese energy company in America’s backyard.

    Secondly, on BP’s share price, I go back to an earlier blog of yours where you noted the market reaction to the Gulf tragedy. I thought so then, and think so now – that it was a gross over-reaction. A number of mutual funds managers seem to agree. As BP's market value declined 40% after April 20th and the markets reacted to headlines, some managers saw an opportunity. Their moves were based on the conjecture that BP is too big to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy (even if it wanted to).

    What’s more, the US legal process is slow in providing rulings of this nature and BP’s core strengths, asset base and oil price of above US$70 a barrel will help it withstand the aftermath of the oil spill. The only thing that makes markets nervous and the media curious is what the final bill would be? We have some years to go before we arrive at that – and it would not be paid in one full instalment. Fund managers seem to have realised that. Others have as well on both sides of the Pond, but since the issue is so sensitive – most prefer to keep their opinions to themselves.

    Kind regards,
    Gaurav Sharma,
    The Oilholics Synonymous Report

  • Comment number 52.

    Let's re-calibrate the cost of the cleanup in values that are more concrete than $: oil barrels. Re-phrase the question to: how much does the clean-up and repair cost--in terms of oil barrels?

    Then, we can ask the logical subsequent question: does BP have access to enough (potential) oil wealth(*) to recoup these costs?

    As long as the price of oil keeps going up, the answer is probably yes.
    Of course, this would turn BP into an enemy of sustainable energy development, because that would make their oil less desired and therefore cheaper, and they need their income short-term to pay these cleanup costs and can therefore not invest it to switch to "greener" energy production alternatives.

    (*) excluding oil from wells that are drilled deeper than 1 km under the ocean, preferably...

  • Comment number 53.

    Please, please just this once will greedy British shareholders think about the long-term damage to the British economy and jobs before agreeing to sell to anyone, least of all the American oil industry.
    The loss of so much industry to low-wage countries, such as East Europe, India and China over the last 10 to 15 years has reduced our manufacturing base to a level where we can no longer sustain our own needs let alone earn money from exports.
    We have years of development knowledge from oil drilling and spin-off technologies, please don't give this away. BP will survive and re-grow, if given chance. Just for once can we all be proud to be British and treat BP as one of our biggest and best assets? Not a lot of help from the source of the rubbish components that caused the failure and now the US companies involved will not share the cost - great! Just keep bashing the Brits! Short memories exist when disaster recovery is considered.

  • Comment number 54.

    Eh? You think smaller might be better than bigger with regards to this kind of disaster?
    Let's try to imagine what would have happened if a much much smaller company had been in charge of this disaster. The cost would immediately force it into bankruptcy, nobody would even consider touching it's poisonous liabilities as a going concern, so it would end up being liquidated and taxpayers would end up picking up the tab for the clean up operation instead of the polluter who caused it in the first place.
    I fail to see how this would be better.

  • Comment number 55.


    The real British shareholders of BP (i.e. the pension fund members who have contributed their hard-earned wages to the pension funds owning BP) do not have a say, as they did not have a say in the running of RBS, Lloyds etc etc.

    It is left to the greedy fund managers to ruin our pensions whilst taking a huge cut for themselves along with the directors who run these businesses, supposedly on behalf of the shareholders, but run more commonly as their own personal piggy banks - average FTSE directors' remuneration quadrupled in 10 years whilst share prices (and pension values)down over the same period.

    I call it legalised theft - no doubt Cameron will keep this gravy train running for his pals.

  • Comment number 56.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 57.

    I am amazed that anyone is even considering selling BP to the highest bidder from overseas. Can anyone imagine America selling EXXON, or France selling TOTAL, or China selling PETROCHINA? No chance. Foreign ownership of these companies is out of the question being against their own national interest. What do we do? Sell everything off for a short term gain leaving the British economy with long term pain. Witness the takeover for peanuts by foreigners of great British household names such as ICI, Pilkington, Cadbury, PowerGen, BAA, Corus, etc, etc. Where will it all end?

  • Comment number 58.

    I can see some clever dealing going on here.
    Left to its own devices then BP would go after its suppliers Deepwater, Cameron etc. For supplying faulty equipment. Or for operating it incorrectly.
    However they play it it will be in the US courts for a good while.
    So what would happen if a US player was to buy both BP and Transocean?
    The lawsuits could be stopped to the enormous benefit of Transocean.
    BP picked up for a song and Transocean gets to miss its day in court.

    Win win for some bold player..

    With deep pockets of course!

  • Comment number 59.

    #57 Oh outhousemouse!...

    You have so much to learn about the people that 'run' this country...

    You MUST read the article in the link below to understand the background to your questions.

    The influence of intelligence services on the British left

    Note who wrote and published the article.

    It's called Libertarian free-market anarchy and it's not only an ideological doctrine espoused by the Labour Party. It's all about PROFIT AT ANY COST. Its consequences will destroy the very fabric and society of this country.

    Look beyond the propaganda of the so called 'free press' and media.

  • Comment number 60.

    I think that if this Gulf accident will result in any kind of BP crash (as an independent company) - takeover or anything else - then this will be an invitation for similar accidents in near future. This case - Gulf accident - still looks, after all doubts, as a genuine "natural"; but if it show relatively easy way for killing big business bodies then... just think how easy it is - one lucky torpedo shot from a submarine (and nobody will be able to investigate).

  • Comment number 61.

    Frankly, your take on this is rather disgusting. You seem to suggest that the southern US is enjoying a mini economic boom thanks to the generosity of BP, and that somehow North Americans should be grateful and nice to BP for spending its own money to clean up the world's greatest BP-made environmental disaster. The corporate vultures are waiting to pounce on a vulnerable company, made vulnerable because of BPs own irresponsible and manical quest for greater profits at the expense of our environment. It's easy for uninformed columnists to pontificate from an office in downtown London where there isn't a trace of BP oil destroying your environment. Boo hoo that your country's biggest environmental criminal is losing money - BP has destroyed a large chunk of our Earth and all BBC News cares about is the money. Truly disgusting. Have a little care for your own planet, will you? You might not have your beaches and your fisheries destroyed for a century yet, but it's only a matter of time before BP destroys your country too.

  • Comment number 62.

    Orchestrated harrassment of a company is all this is. Let us not forget that the rig that went down was a US rig operated by US company with US workers. BP is registered in the US - the US Government is simply on its usual quest to orchestrate control of an oil producing company in the same way it does the same with oil producing countries but using military force.

    The UK simply gives credibility to the monster that is the US. It is time for us to cut loose from these crazy fools and show the world that we can may the right decisions on our own and not hide behind a big bad country.

  • Comment number 63.

    @ 62. At 8:57pm on 12 Jul 2010, juliuscaesar wrote:

    > Orchestrated harrassment of a company is all this is.

    Oh, I don't know about that.

    Big organisations are bringing on thier own destruction. Bankers destroyed thier own banks and oilmen destroyed thier own oil company. Why? Because the chiefs are dumber than a box of hammers, that's why.

    Life is simple - don't make it complicated.

  • Comment number 64.

    #61 Bobdog Canada

    'BP has destroyed a large chunk of our Earth and all BBC News cares about is the money.'


    Canadian dog with a bob...I've told you a million times before not to exaggarate!

    Trust me Canadian dog with a bob...the Beeb doesn't ONLY care about the us poor mugs here have to fund the BBC...only for them to provide it FOC to the rest of the world!

  • Comment number 65.

    There is a lesson in all this...

    If you're going to have a disastrous spill, have it in the Niger Delta or somewhere similar.

    Americans are a pain...Media, compensation, rectification, liability...

    Pity there's no oil in Bhopal...those Indians can be messed around and left to die, or to live on in misery and agony. So cheap!

  • Comment number 66.

    'Mr Hayward regrets he is unable to dine today.'
    If US Americans were to get Hayward's scalp and as a result BP became fair game for a takeover (by Exxon probably) it would be 1 - 0 to the Lynch mob. I for one, and I am a BP shareholder, would be sickened.
    Just compare two attitudes to a crisis, two attitudes to responsibility: 1) that of Hayward to the Deepwater Horizon, and 2) that of the US Warren Anderson to the far more tragic Bhopal gas leak in India. Hayward went immediately to the eye of the storm. He stayed there facing the music. He became every vapid politician's whipping-boy. He facilitated a vast damages fund under indepentent management. He set up a vast operation to bring about a remedy.
    If saying 'No-one wants this over more than me; I want my life back,' becomes a reason to restructure a global industry, we are very very lost.
    As for a bid being good or bad? It depends of course on the bid, on your definition of good, on your definition of bad. Personally, from my modest business dealings, I would suggest 1) whether a company being of good repute or being unknown delivers depends on the few individuals with whom you deal, and 2) the natural tendency when a company's number of employees grows is towards inefficiency.

  • Comment number 67.

    66. At 9:47pm on 12 Jul 2010, richardsykes wrote:

    2) the natural tendency when a company's number of employees grows is towards inefficiency.


    Excellent comment, and correct, beyond the very small number actually required to carry out an individual task. For example a one man roofing company must be inefficient, the job requires an optimum 3 or 4 people on site. Beyond that sort of number, however, inefficiencies proliferate, until we get to the behemoths like BP, most Government Departments, etc. The backroom boys,whose function initially was to make the life of front-line staff easier, take the business over. Suddenly, they ARE the business, their numbers proliferate, and they get paid 2x, 3x, 10x the wage of those actually doing the job. The tail starts wagging the dog- this has been the model in every organisation I worked in, over 40 years in both public and private sectors. And anyone who tells you how much more efficient the private sector is, well sorry folks, just not true in my experience of large organisations. A bureaucracy is a bureaucracy, public or private, it's all the same. And any company the size of BP is just a very large bureaucratic tail wagging an overworked little dog.

  • Comment number 68.

    66. At 9:47pm on 12 Jul 2010, richardsykes

    Maybe the Lynch mob or just ordinary people fed up with one of the richest companies in the world as bad employer ruining their environment, our global environment. 11 people died on that oil platform and perhaps, just perhaps if there were effective corporate crime laws there would be no lynch mob, because justice would be done in the courts. Sadly, just like the UK we don't have effective corporate laws protecting employees from employers happy to risk the lives of people trying to keep a roof over their heads in the name of cutting costs and increasing profits to meet the demands of greedy investors.

  • Comment number 69.

    BP had an accident. Plain and simple. You sign a waiver to work on a rig because there is a chance of death (weather caught up by machinery, or blown the deck due to high winds, or as they are searching for an explosive mixture, getting blown to bits).
    There is nothing known about the fisheries right now, it is all speculation.
    There is no guarantee that they can close up the too, is speculation(and crossed fingers) that they can hit a dinner plate with their mile and a half long poker(relief well).
    I am still waiting for a "mother of all hurricane" to come ripping through the area. Most of the surface oil will then be on the land...Chicago; Ohmaha for example. Fish will still be in the water.
    BP is not polluting. Cars(meaning individual drivers) do that.

  • Comment number 70.

    Would a bid for BP be good or bad?

    That's crazy. It would be of benefit to some huge corporation that would like to swallow BP. It would also create a super-giant of a corporation when the world is too corporatised already. It would put the processes surrounding the capture of oil, it's refinement and distribution in just very few hands in the world and that can't be good.

    As for the rest, there's always someone who profits from disaster. So it was with Hurricane Katrina, the Iraq invasion and will continue with major accidents like this oil spill. Nothing new there.

  • Comment number 71.

    Divine justice before our eyes.

    Just as Britain wasattempting/hoping to syphon off Argentinian oil from the Malvinas in the same way that Kuwait syphoned Iraqi oil by drilling wells on the border , then BP gets a west dream ,more oil than it could dream of everywhere except in barrels, which will reportedly lead to a loss of £10,000,000,000 in tax reciepts alone.

    Pieracey does not pay, booty is in the aisle of the bholederr ,its judgement day ,enjoy.


    Whos that over drilling

    Well Well Well

    Whos that Man

    Well Well Well

    Whos that over drilling

    The spirit is a moving

    All over the ....seabed.

  • Comment number 72.

    Have a look at the link below. I find it incredible, but not surprising, that about 27% of our nations jobs are taken in the public sector. Think on that one for a minute. That means that nearly 30% of the working population don't make anything, they pay tax on what they earn but the money they are given in wages comes from the productive areas of the economy. We should give them a wage cut and stop them paying tax.

    I also find it curious that the author uses of the word output to describe the 15% of activity that this sector of the economy enjoys?

    There is only one way out of the current economic mess. The UK has to make things again. We have to have less people watching manufacturing, both from the public and unemployed sectors (are they not the same thing?).

    It all seems quite simple to me. It's a bit like an overweight person posing the question why am I fat, whilst holding a cream cake!! (the answer there is, calories in > calories metabolised.)

  • Comment number 73.

    > 54. At 6:16pm on 12 Jul 2010, Steve Thomas wrote:
    ... so it would end up being liquidated and taxpayers would end up picking up the tab for the clean up operation instead of the polluter who caused it in the first place ...

    We will anyway!
    This disaster will have knock on effects that will affect the price of oil, and in turn the cost of food, fuel etc, the world over.
    This is one of the primary reasons why this industry, like so many others, needs tighter and stronger regulation. Not just for the moral and ethical reasons- but the simple economic one of self interest!

    Not that the millionaires and politicians who are disproportionately less affected by this than the average man in the street will ever see it that way....

  • Comment number 74.

    BP 760 Exxon1

    Your final paragraph

    " Quite apart from the traditional arguments about the harm to consumers from any diminution of healthy competition, mightn't the risks for investors and for society of further calamitous accidents be maximised if BP were devoured by another oil monster?"

    Figures from Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reported by ABC News 227/05/10

    "OSHA statistics show BP ran up 760 "egregious, willful" safety violations, while Sunoco and Conoco-Phillips each had eight, Citgo had two and Exxon had one comparable citation."

  • Comment number 75.

    Seeing as Russia has a sub capable of plugging the well why hasn't BP/the US government taken Russia up on its offer of help?

    Could it be they are putting politics ahead of the environment?

  • Comment number 76.

    Firstly, All those banging on about environmental concerns are in the wrong place. This is a BUSINESS blog. Whatever environmental crimes have been committed are not Roberts brief...

    Would a bid for BP be good or bad? From a business stand point it would be good for those who have bought shares recently, bad for those who owned them prior to the share price dipping, and I suspect the latter would provide the most shareholder resistance to any takeover or equity issue.
    From an ehtical standpoint it would be bad, because whatever anyone says, to the man in the street is it going to look like Obama has taken an opportunity to deliberately talk down the value of a foreign company in order to allow an American competitor to come in and asset strip on the cheap. It goes without saying that if the roles were reversed and it was BP or it's Chinese and Russian equivalents circling Exxon or Amoco, American politicians would be up in arms.

  • Comment number 77.

    76. At 09:34am on 13 Jul 2010, justarealist wrote:

    > All those banging on about environmental concerns are in the wrong place.

    No. Business would cease to exist without the environment.

  • Comment number 78.

    I worked for BP between 2000 and 2004, and one thing that was very noticable was that in the UK and in Europe BP was OBSESSED with health and safety, environmental protection, risk minimisation etc etc. We regularly turned down lucrative bits of business because it felt to be too risky, or slightly unsafe, or had a small chance of being environmentally unsound.

    In the US, however, (I had regular dealings with that region too) BP was a completely different animal - nobody took safety seriously, nobody really gave a damn about environmental considerations, and as far as risk management was concerned, to hell with that! Look at the bottom line instead! That wasn't just senior management, it was everyone.

    The reason? Simple! BP USA was basically Amoco re-badged. Amoco have never really had any time for anything except "profit profit profit".

    Of course it should have been BP's UK head office guys' job to try to change that, but have you ever tried to effect business cultural changes on a large scale? Difficult when the people still think of themselves as "Amoco".....

    The fault here lies in the business culture of BP USA, not in BP per se. And when truth be told, the real fault most likely lies with Transocean or the manufacturers of the blowout preventers.

    But they're Americans so they can't be guilty, can they.

  • Comment number 79.

    The americans are the biggest hypocrites in the world. They blame BP for this mess, yet it was two american companies actually being contracted to maintain the rig! And the american company isnt offering to pay for any of the damage!
    Furthermore, Exxon Valdez spill.. remember that!
    +The disaster in India recently which no american ceo's offered to pay for leaving it to the Indian government. If i was David Cameron i would be giving this brit bashing Obama adminstration a piece of my mind, and BP getting taken over, come off it BP has a proud history of being a big succesful company. It has lost its share price so people are quick to think it needs selling. Short termism as we know got us nowhere. Bad for competition and oil supplies if BP gets swallowed up by Chevron, Exxon or Shell.
    Oh and America.. whose banking system destroyed the global economy?

  • Comment number 80.

    Stan Pomeray
    I totally agree with you! "The fault here lies in the business culture of BP USA, not in BP per se." I have always wonderred why BP's safety problems all happened in America. Everybody noticed BP's bad safety record but why nobody had noticed the BP's safety problems all happened in America.

  • Comment number 81.

    BP advised as a buy at 353 pence, or less, are now 409 pence.
    20% plus returns was good enough for Warren Buffett. wink.

    Still looking good for above average returns over the next 30 years, so a bid will have to come soon.

    When the oil price is $100 and over, countries will be wanting oil companies, including BP to drill again.

    ''There will always be Paris, sorry, Russia, sands of middle East, West Africa.....''.

  • Comment number 82.

    BP will be salami sliced by oil companies around the world but the biggest slices will go to US companies because the US has always regretted the sale of Amoco, Sohio to BP. Obama has already ignored international law on forcing BP to pay into an escrow account and to freeze a publically declared dividend. He will now make every effort to enable Exxon to buy up the rump of BP. Then we will see what happens to the price of oil. BP shareholders will lose out in a big way, and BP pensioners will have to stand and watch Exxon eat the pension fund. BP did get many things wrong but so have all companies in this difficult area of exploration, including many US companies.BP are paying the price of getting it wrong in the US.

  • Comment number 83.

    'BP this morning confirmed - among other things - that it has floated 587.12 miles of "containment boom" on the waters around the Gulf coast.'

    Anyone would think they haven't being doing this on a regular basis. Anyone would think this was the important part of their press releases.

    Yesterday they also provided lots of info about replacing the LMRP. Why no mention of this? Much more significant than the boom that needs to be replaced from time to time.

    If you are interested, go to the BP website. Go to the bit about the Gulf of Mexico response. If you'd done this any time over the last six to eight weeks you'd have found a wealth of information.

    BP has provided press releases virtually every day about the resources being used, the oil and gas being captured or flared, the oily residue being skimmed or burned, the amount of containment boom and sorbent boom being used, the number of claims made, the number of payments and the cost of the payments, the number of aircraft and vessels of opportunity in use (over 6000).

    You can watch the ROVs live all the time

    You can watch all the technical briefings on the BP website amongst other things. I recommend the technical briefings.

    You can find maps showing the impact and location of the observed oil and where it hasn't been observed.

    You can find out that the first relief well is within 190 feet of its target, the progress of the second relief well.

    You can find the announcements about the $20 billion escrow account and that the BP board agreed to sell $10 billion of assets to help fund this, the other portion coming from the dividends which have been suspended for the rest of the year.

    There are a number of locations in each of the affected states where people can make claims. The last time I looked there were 900 people processing claims.

    There are press releases that cover the fact that BP is passing invoices to its partners in this field - Anadarko and Mitsui

    Furthermore you can link to the US Coastguard site which has similar info.

    The share price fell because shareholders sold. The share price has risen because there have been purchasers who recognised that the shares were probably under valued, who were watching progress, liked what they saw. There will probably be more purchasers if the pressure testing goes well. There will be even more if the bottom kill works. There'll be a bunch of people saying 'should have bought at £3 per share'.

    IMO, the share price has risen not because of some bid related sabre rattling but because there's a belief that the oil flow into the gulf might be stopped.

    If it is, that will also be down to BP, its management, some of its staff and some of its subcontractors. Likewise the cleanup, the payments etc.

    I wish them well.

  • Comment number 84.

    I feel BP are coming under so much pressure from the US so they can get a cheap deal for one of their comapnies (Exxon). BP is a huge company - biggest comapny in britain and the fourth largest in the world! As for a hostile takeover bid, its exaggerated for the simple fact that the british government wouldnt allow it - so many british stake holders and pensions rely on BP and if it was taken over it would be suicidal for the british government and the EU wouldnt allow it!

    BP being the 4th largest company in the world, no takeover would be allowed anywhere for the simple fact that competition would go out the window! No government would allow it, i dont even think the states would to be honest! and when you think about it, BP has about 100Billion dollars in equity and it can easily ride the storm its going through just now and its not even being asked to put the 20 billion upfront its over several years and when it makes 16-18billion dollars profit a year we're only talking a years profit down the drain.

    Im all for the environment and whats happened is a catastrophe im not gonna deny it but what i dont like like is BP being slated completely when they werent the only one's involved. None of the others will bother to even shoulder a bit of the blame or put a fraction of the money up, transoceon for starters! they were the one's that ran the rig so why shouldnt they pay their way, theyre not completely innocent in it all!!!!

    BP, yes should shoulder some of the blame but not all, like what they're getting and they certainly shouldnt be getting a bashing from the US government. I say go BP and stay it alone, get it fixed, pay your due's and move on!

    IN the US government will back you, they'll loose too much money if you dont, and wew british support you in the mainstream!!!

  • Comment number 85.

    BP had failed and may have been negligent so it deserves to be reprimanded but you can't punish a company so much it is on the brink of collapse because that is in nobody's interest

    You can try. And it would be very much in America's interest for BP (an international company) to fail.
    It would remove any shadow of blame from Obama and US operatives, and there really is a great deal of blame that should be apportioned in that direction. Actually, the Brit-bashing already pretty much succeeded in deflecting this.
    It would provide an opportunity for a US company to regain posession of Amoco, the 'foreign' acquisition of which has always been regretted.

  • Comment number 86.

    42. At 3:39pm on 12 Jul 2010, TedInDenver wrote:

    LONDON (AFP) – BP is in talks to sell up to 12 billion dollars (9.5 billion euros) of assets, including a substantial stake in a giant Alaskan oil field, to Apache Corporation, the Sunday Times reported.

    BP is already having to sell good assets to the US to pay for their mess.

    BP was already embarked on a strategy to rationalise its assets before the Gulf spill. I'm pleased to be able to inform you that the Alaskan sale has nothing whatever to do with it.

  • Comment number 87.

    86. At 11:30am on 14 Jul 2010, Its_an_Outrage wrote:
    BP was already embarked on a strategy to rationalise its assets before the Gulf spill. I'm pleased to be able to inform you that the Alaskan sale has nothing whatever to do with it.

    Sure ;)

  • Comment number 88.

    Because BP is already owned by shareholders in many countries, shuffling those around makes no real difference to ownership structures. It'll still be owned by capitalists wherever they are.
    The key issue is whether a merger into another larger bunch of shareholders would improve BP's long-term development? Without detracting from the capabilities of any other oil group we could say that's not a likley improvement.
    It's also unlikely that such a merger would happen at a distressed price because BP shareholders are not barmy - many of them are professional and long-term investors with no pressing need to sell-up.
    Speculation about a takeover serves to remind us of BP's huge value. That reminder is having an uplifting effect on today's BP share price.


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