“As hopes dim for containing the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico anytime soon” after a giant containment dome failed, the cost of cleaning up the spill will continue to rise. BP is financially responsible for the disaster, and President Obama wants to raise the cap on what the company is liable for, as cleanup costs have already surpassed the current limit. BP said yesterday that it had already spent $350 million on the spill response, and the company’s stock has taken a big hit, but the “behemoth” company will almost certainly survive the disaster with little long term damage. BP’s daily profits dwarf the daily cost of spill response, and at the current rate, the company could cover the entire cost of cleanup thus far in just under four days of profits:
For now, at least, BP’s prodigious costs combating the oil spill in the Gulf are outweighed by prodigious profits.
On Monday, BP said it spent $350 million in the first 20 days of the spill response, about $17.5 million a day. It has paid 295 of the 4,700 claims received, for a total of $3.5 million. By contrast, in the first quarter of the year, the London-based oil giant’s profits averaged $93 million a day.
The amount of oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico has been estimated at 5,000 to 25,000 barrels a day. In the first quarter, BP produced 2.5 million barrels of crude oil a day worldwide — and it received $71.86 for every barrel.
At $93 million a day in profits, BP makes $350 million in about 3.8 days. The Washington Post noted that Exxon, through a decision by the Supreme Court, was able to pay only $507.5 million of the original $5 billion in punitive damages that it had been assessed for the 1989 Valdez disaster.