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BP one year on from spill

posted 19 Apr 2011, 11:37 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 19 Apr 2011, 11:39 ]
It's one year since an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 people, causing massive damage to the environment and spawning a multi billion dollar clear up bill for BP.
UK-BP ANNIVERSARY - It's a year since BP's oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded killing 11 workers and spewing nearly five million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

It was one of the worst oil spill disasters the world had witnessed damaging hundreds of miles of coastline and kick starting a nightmare year for the British oil giant.

12 months later, many are looking to assess not only the environmental impact of the spill, but what it means

for the future prospect's of one of Britain's most iconic companies.

Tom Bergin is Reuters oil and gas correspondent.

 Tom Bergin, Oil and Energy Analyst, Reuters, saying:

"Well BP has come back a lot from the real lows of the crisis last year - shares are up by 60 per cent of that absolute low and the company is back to a profit now - oil prices at the moment are very high, that's helped them come back with some very good profits , they have also started to do some good deals again, they are even back to drilling in the Gulf of Mexico - so at certain levels they are starting to get back to normal."

Those brave enough to buy up BP shares at their lowest point - when many were saying the company would fold - have made a mint out of misery.

The disaster cost CEO Tony Hayward his job after he was accused of committing a series of PR mishaps as the scale of the disaster unfolded.

He was succeeded by Bob Dudley who had to oversee a massive environmental clean up operation costing billions, and rebuilding BP's battered reputation.

One year on that is now coming to an end with clean up staff reduced from 50,000 to 2,000.

But looking further into the future, the picture is less clear.

Tom Bergin, Oil and Energy Analyst, Reuters, saying:

"There is still almost no clarity with respect to the legal problems the company will face so we still don't know whether the company will face a few billion dollars in the fines and punitive damages or might it face fines and punitive damages running into tens of billions of dollars. ?"

And judging from a recent ill tempered annual share holders meeting in London - US claimants are still angry and will be fighting for full compensation.

And it is not only this uncertainty that is keeping the share price at bay now... BP headlines are now as likely to involve it's problematic bid to share swap with Russia's leading oil production company Rosneft, as to mention Deep Horizon.

What was hoped to be a transformational deal has also become mired in uncertainty.

But while problems amass - at least they have kept one threat at bay - and that is a takeover.

BP may remain BP, but it's a very different company than it was just over one year ago.

Penny Tweedie, Reuters.