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What’s Next for BP After Felonious Gulf Coast Catastrophe?

BLOOMBERG BUSINESS has a blaring headline and article reporting that the 103-year-old British oil company, founded as an Anglo-Persian venture in 1909, is now seen as a takeover target.

A.G. Holder announced BP’s guilty plea to 14 criminal charges and the responsibility of the deaths of 11 crew members last Thursday.

Today, in U.S. District Court here in the Eastern District of Louisiana, the Department filed a 14-count information charging BP with 11 counts of felony manslaughter, one count of felony obstruction of Congress, and violations of the Clean Water and Migratory Bird Treaty Acts in connection with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that began in April 2010. BP has agreed to plead guilty to all 14 criminal charges — admitting responsibility for the deaths of 11 people and the events that led to an unprecedented environmental catastrophe. The company also has agreed to pay $4 billion in fines and penalties.

This marks both the single largest criminal fine — more than $1.25 billion — and the single largest total criminal resolution — $4 billion — in the history of the United States. It stands as a testament to the hard work of countless investigators, attorneys, support staff members, and other personnel — from the Deepwater Horizon Task Force and a range of federal, state, and local agencies — who have worked tirelessly to advance a complex and wide-ranging investigation that began even before the oil well was capped. And it constitutes a major achievement toward fulfilling a promise that I made here in New Orleans, along with my colleagues, nearly two years ago: to engage with our partners and counterparts to determine the causes of this disaster; to respond to its consequences; to seek justice on behalf of its victims; and to enable Gulf Coast residents to continue to recover and rebuild.

Speculation on what’s next for BP includes settling civil claims, which are set to go to trial in February 2013.

Two names mentioned as sniffing around BP in the aftermath of the company’s crash and burn are Shell and Exxon-Mobil.

Nobody can bring back the Gulf Coast habitat or the marine ecosystem. The loss is incalculable.

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6 Responses to What’s Next for BP After Felonious Gulf Coast Catastrophe?

  1. TPAZ November 19, 2012 at 11:13 am #

    This just in:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/18/us-bp-buyback-idUSBRE8AH01620121118

    “BP Plc (BP.L) plans to spend up to 3.7 billion pounds ($5.9 billion) buying back its shares after agreeing last week to pay record criminal penalties over the Deepwater Horizon disaster, Britain’s Sunday Times said in an unsourced report.”

    Not only is BP telling their shareholders not to worry about the settlement but that they have more money than the penalty sum to spend on buying back shares of stock in the open market. A decrease in outstanding shares causes an increase per share on dividend payments (a pay raise).

    Crime does pay; and very well.

    • Taylor Marsh November 19, 2012 at 11:16 am #

      Indeed, unless of course you are a creature in the way of their marauding.

      • TPAZ November 19, 2012 at 11:24 am #

        Eggs and omelets, winners and losers, until our piggish species becomes extinct.

      • Cujo359 November 19, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

        Or a fisherman, or a resort owner/employee …

        Of course, in the world of President Fierce Advocate and Co., those folks probably do rank as creatures.

        • Taylor Marsh November 19, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

          President Fierce Advocate and Co.

          priceless.

  2. Cujo359 November 19, 2012 at 3:36 pm #

    If the government estimate of the spill’s size is to be believed, and Rachel Maddow is correct about the $4,300 per barrel figure as the maximum fine in the case of negligence, BP should have been on the hook for at least $21 billion, according to my little desk calculator. When you assume that the government’s estimate is a conservative one, then it’s clear they should probably have been fined even more, had the government been willing to gather more information.

    In that context, the “record fine” seems paltry.

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