Shares in BP plunged as much as 20% at one stage this morning – wiping another £14bn off the company’s market value – after the oil producer failed over the weekend to stop its catastrophic oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.
BP has now lost £44bn of its market capitalisation since 20 April, when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded. By 10am the shares had staged a partial recovery from early lows of 420p, after their biggest fall in 18 years, but were still trading 14% lower, at 427p.
The company said a containment cap will be connected towards the end of the week, although the spill could worsen in the meantime. BP has spent almost $1bn (£700m) so far attempting to plug the leak, but said it was “too early” to quantify other potential costs and liabilities associated with the incident. The total bill could rise to as much as $12bn, according to UBS.
The new strategy is the company’s “best option”, BP chief executive Tony Hayward said in a statement today.
The company has received as many as 30,000 claims, mostly from businesses in the US states of Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida, which involve loss of earnings or bereavement suffered by families of the 11 workers killed when the rig caught fire.
Tuesday 1 June 2010 10.42 BST
Source: The Guardian
The federal agency responsible for ensuring that an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico was operating safely before it exploded last month fell well short of its own policy that inspections be done at least once per month, an Associated Press investigation shows.
Since January 2005, the federal Minerals Management Service conducted at least 16 fewer inspections aboard the Deepwater Horizon than it should have under the policy, a dramatic fall from the frequency of prior years, according to the agency’s records.
Scientists studying video of the gushing oil well have tentatively calculated that it could be flowing at a rate of 25,000 to 80,000 barrels of oil a day. The latter figure would be 3.4 million gallons a day.
“The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume.”
Approximately 325,000 gallons of dispersant have been deployed so far in BP’s effort to break up the spreading oil slick before it hits the fragile Gulf coast, and over 500,000 gallons more are available.
The company acknowledged Friday that it had completed the final cementing of the oil well and pipe just 20 hours before the blowout last week.