How much should BP's penalty be?
As BP’s oil spill clean-up efforts reached Operation “Top Kill” today, one thing is becoming clear: people want justice.
And there has been a lot of speculation over how much accountability the energy giant should have for its spill last month, the explosion that’s already spewed an estimated 1.4 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
Some say BP is totally negligible, others (well, BP itself) say it’s not. But everyone wants to know, once and for all, how much the British multinational should have to pay for its mess.
There are a myriad of government loopholes, wads of red tape and sticky legislation in this whole scandal, but there are three legitimate penalty scenarios I can see here:
1. The "Slap On The Wrist": This repayment is the clear-cut favourite for BP because pre-existing liability rules for oil spills top out at $75 million. That would mean, if BP is found not to have exhibited gross negligence in the spill, it would only be on the hook for $75 million, no matter the total clean-up/fallout costs.
2. The "Stocks": Since the spill, legislation has been introduced inside U.S. courts to raise the aforementioned liability cap by more than 100 times. “I believe that we have a system in dire need of repair,” said one Democratic politician opposed to the $75 million cap. The U.S. Justice Department admitted yesterday that Congress could retroactively impose a $10 billion liability cap on BP for damages from the growing oil spill, and that the oil corporation would “likely lose if it challenged the higher cap in court,” according to Reuters.
3. The "Full Monty": A bit of a stretch, but something entirely plausible. Based on a clause within the U.S. Clean Water Act, BP could – in theory – be fined a huge sum for every barrel of oil spilled into the Gulf. How huge? Try $4,300 per barrel. By that calculation, BP would already owe about $6.2 trillion in fines so far from its spill, according to estimates Wednesday. Such a penalty might have little chance of catching on, but you can’t say for sure it’s out of the cards.
Of the three listed penalties for BP, which do you think is fair? How much should the corporation be forced to pay?
By Jason Buckland, MSN Money
Posted by: don | May 26, 2021 6:25:44 PM
What difference does it make? We all know all costs are passed onto the consumer in the end....who will pay...I will and you will....everyone will pay for this mistake. The people that were directly effected will probably end up getting a pittance...if anything. The oil company executives will probably get huge bonuses for their handling of the situation.
Posted by: Lisa | May 27, 2021 3:06:14 PM
How would the common person have the answer to that??? We're NOT there. No matter how much media you put on the situation, the common person has no right to judge what should or shouldn't happen there. Let the governments deal with it. They won't do it perfect, but whatever they do, we pray they do it decently right...and move on.
Posted by: Ken | May 28, 2021 1:39:59 AM
I think that BP should get the full montey other wise known here as #3. A very clear message needs to be sent to companies like BP that if some thing like this happens what ever the cause, be it cost cutting defective tech, human error etc that they are going to be on the hook for the ENTIRE cost of putting it right and compansating those affected for there losses in full. and perhaps some prison time for those at the top that allowed it to happen on there watch. Unless we hold BP and all others like them fully responsable (includeing the executives and major stock holders) financially for the messes they make, you can recycle until the proverbial cow comes home and it is not going to make a damb bit of difference.
And Lisa; You wouldn't happen to own BP stock do you?
Posted by: Serop Sarkissian | May 28, 2021 4:01:48 AM
As I understand, the drilling platform failed and therefore the owner company of the platform must be greatly if not solely responsible for the failure of the platform which caused the submerged piping and ancillaries to fail subsequently. I remember in the year 1960-61, BP was carrying extensive research in deep-sea drilling, at the BP Research Centre, Middlesex, England. That is almost FIFTY years' of research and expertise! I therefore cannot blame BP for negligence. Similarly, we cannot accuse the scientists and all the engineers and administrators of NASA for the tragic loss of astronauts' lives. I assure you that I do not own any BP stock nor NASA !
Posted by: Lorne | May 28, 2021 7:38:54 AM
People should probably watch this on 60 minutes before deciding on BP leniency:
Hey, I'm no expert, but... BP is really looking like a pack of liars. The youtube video with Matt Simmons is a tell all. If viewers suspected that the size of the oil slick is way too large compared to what BP is claiming isn't coming from what BP has shown with video, they are entirely correct. The slick covered 2600 square miles as of a week ago and growing, with incalculable volumes of plumes underneath. Estimates of 120,000 BOE's per day are becoming more and more accurate based on the visual damage to the enviornment.
There isn't much else to conclude other than that BP has lied to everyone since the blowout began in an effort to avoid litigation and the government at some point has to step in and take over from here to prevent further damage to the environment. Lord knows the U.S. has the people that can do better here than what we've witnessed so far.
Posted by: Allan McDonald | May 28, 2021 8:14:32 AM
In the end the public will pay anyways. The corp exec's will get their huge bonuses and salaries.
If you really what justice. Take money away from the top brass not the common people that live day to day. However justice will never clean up the damage that has been created, but maybe it won't happen again.
Posted by: susie9 | May 28, 2021 9:36:41 AM
BP has been totally ignorant and negligent all along and they've taken their sweet lazy arrogant time about doing something to even TRY to stop the oil from continuing to pour into the water. Definitely option #3--the most expensive one.
But let's face it, no matter how much money is put into it, nothing is going to "put it right." Our earth is going to be permanently scarred by this. Anyone who thinks this can be fixed is incredibly naïve. The damage to the marine wildlife and the people whose livelihood depends upon it probably won't recover in our lifetimes. How do you put a price on that?
The executives of BP are as arrogant as they are because they know that they're worth far more than any government on this earth right now. Think about the trillions the U.S. is in debt right now. As much as Obama may want to take a hard line on BP and fine and/or sue them out of business, the U.S. can't afford to do that and BP knows it. BP isn't afraid of Obama. That's why they're taking their time plugging that well up and they haven't sent a single person to that marsh in Louisiana no clean up their mess. They don't care and they know that no one can afford to make them care. The U.S. was effectively bankrupt before this happened and the businessmen whose livelihoods have been ruined for the foreseeable future (for generations, in fact) are powerless to do anything about it.
This is what dependence on oil has done. This is what GM shredding their electric cars, instead of producing more of them and making them a way of life, has led to. This is the result of Republicans hollering "Drill baby, drill!"
Look at the miserable mess created by greedy, careless oilmen. They will never clean this up. They may send the victims to do it with insufficient equipment and pay them pathetic wages that will never make up for what they've lost, but BP will never take full responsibility for what they've done and no court on this earth can afford to make them. They have more money than any nation in existence and as long as that continues to be true, no court order can be effectively enforced against them. They know this and they will forever exploit that fact.
Just look at the sheer arrogance of the CEO every time he gets in front of a camera and you can see that beyond a shadow of a doubt. This is an international company and no single nation's court can control them. It's incredibly sad and I may sound like a terrible pessimist, but this is the reality of the situation.
I've seen Anderson Cooper et al go down there and imply that Obama doesn't care because he hasn't gone down there and personally looked at the mess, but I'm sure that seeing it up close wouldn't make him care more than seeing video of it. I'm in Canada and nowhere near it and I feel horrible about it. I rarely watch the news anymore because of it.
Obama cares, but what can he really do? People think, well he's the president of the most powerful nation in the world, but he's also the president of the brokest nation in the world. That's the reality and when you get right down to it, he really doesn't have any power against BP. Add to that the fact that the U.S. needs oil more than any other country in the world and therefore can't afford to get on BP's bad side and also can't afford to finance the clean up, and Obama has a real problem on his hands.
Bottom line--this is never going to get cleaned up. All BP cares about is making money. They don't care about the environment. If they did, this thing would have been over in less than a week because they would have had a way to fix this before it happened. BP doesn't care about people or wildlife or anything that really matters. All they care about is money. They have continued to polute the environment on the grandest scale in human history with impunity because they can and they know they can. Nobody has the power or the will to stop them. Every country in the world is in debt and needs oil. BP fears no one.
Posted by: MC | May 28, 2021 10:12:13 AM
Lisa calm down, it's a public discussion. if you dont like it, leave it!
Posted by: Lisa | May 28, 2021 11:54:19 AM
MC--I'm probably the calmest one in the discussion. Obviously you weren't reading my comment correctly, were you? That is actually a HUGE problem with READING comments versus hearing someone's voice. I honestly think it's stupid to get upset over a topic like this. That was my point to whoever is printing these articles--NOT YOU. The governments will do what they can do. The damage is done, isn't it? So now, we clean up after human damage.
Posted by: joey | May 29, 2021 6:31:25 PM
BP should be run off,.. assets siezed, contracts tossed 2 the wind!let em sue!send in another oil company 2 contain the spill,retrieve what they can.Send BP the bill,and sue their asses!They are a cheap shit show and no nation needs that crap.How about.." u drill, you spill, you clean up! ya dirty bahstads.
Posted by: George Bushy | May 29, 2021 9:53:05 PM
BP's CEO should be hanged from his butt.... but that is not going to happen. Thanks
to our crooked politicians including OhBaMa. BP will come out of this with a slap on the wrist and
the average Joe will pay for this horrific mistake - pay big times. Incompetency is the keyword here.
Incompetecy followed by zero leadership. CEO of BP should be held criminally responsible. The board of directors must be bunch of morons. What a disgraceful company this BP is.
The so called "Top Kill" should be applied to the top management of BP and then there will be some
hope. The top management must as good as the idiot CEO. God save us all from these jokers.
Posted by: kerianna | May 29, 2021 11:21:51 PM
BP and it's regulatory committee should be held accountable. Not the entities, but the people inside them. It's time to realize that it's the people inside who have such a lack of regard and make these mistakes on behalf of securing more money for their company's shareholders. It's the people in the regulatory committee who allowed BP to shirk it's environmental duties and disregard safety measures in trade for personal perks.
Start holding individual people accountable for their actions inside of these companies, instead of hiding behind them. These people participate in criminal acitivity and should be treated as such.
Posted by: kerianna | May 29, 2021 11:35:05 PM
Oh and Lisa? Leaving such things to the government and "praying" they do it decently scares the bejeezuz out of me. I hope you're in the minority here, as such attitudes are the very thing that landed us in this global crisis.
We're so busy watching re-runs of "Lost" that most people don't realize that what's happening with BP is just a small piece in a much bigger picture.
Posted by: Rob | May 30, 2021 12:15:15 AM
Well its bad no matter the out come turns out to be , just look around at whats happing the world today, Kids killing kids in schools, Moms killing kids wars, floods, Drug abuse, And the drinking, Wars and more wars to come.
The time is comming when God will take back his world as we all have gotten so far away from all the goodness he has created for us all. Its like when God told Noahs Ark Noah preached for 120 year qnd not many would follow him and all drowned,
Soon it will happen again
Posted by: Lisa | May 30, 2021 7:45:50 AM
Kerianna: My point to people like you is, there is no need getting upset. You and I can do nothing about it anyway, right?? If you can, then get off of here and go do it!
Secondly, yes, they should be held accountable. However, is anyone stupid enough to believe they WON'T be held accountable? OH wait a minute...we're Canadians and are used to holding NOONE truly accountable...so of course we figure it will be the same in this case. lol I guess our own stupid system has finally bit us in the ***!
Oh, and by the way I don't like reality TV. lol Have no idea what "Lost" is about. The only thing I could tell you is, it's a TV show. lol
I have learned over time, there are things I can change and things that I should let someone else take care of...THIS is one of those things.
So yes, I"m praying this all works out. If YOU can figure out something that I can truly do to help, let me know. However, your idea to get upset, is not a good idea, in my opinion.
Posted by: TC | May 30, 2021 11:04:31 AM
The penalty should be being banned from ANY drilling in North America... and that includes the Arctic.
Those within the government, who should have been doing their jobs, which does not include 'getting into bed' with these companies, should be tried for crimes against the country. Not quite treason, but pretty darn close. To my mind these people are to blame PERIOD.
The equipment suppliers who claim to have told BP 'this wouldn't work', bit did nothing to warn the government bodies who were supposed to 'watchdog', should also be banned from selling any equipment that goes into drilling, of any kind, within North America. Yes, they may have told BP it wouldn't meet expectations, but sold them what BP wanted anyway... just to make money.
And, please, don't take any of that 'responsibility to the shareholder' crap. That's what it is... crap. We now have their crap all over the Gulf coastline. The damage done cannot be 'costed' as we do not know how long, or to what extent, the spill will affect the region.
Posted by: Lisa | May 30, 2021 11:47:53 AM
To "TC"--So now the supplier should be penalized because they sold to BP?? Is that similar to a bar being penalized when an ADULT drives drunk?? That is wrong too. The adult(s) that made the mistake should be penalized. The seller is a business and should be treated ONLY as a business. It is not THEIR responsbility to make sure ANOTHER business handled THEIR responsiblities correctly.
As for the way you talk...maybe they SHOULD be put up for treason. They are going to be judged by society to that degree anyway...so why not??
Posted by: kerianna | May 30, 2021 7:57:32 PM
Lisa, just keep your head buried in the sand dear.
Posted by: kerianna | May 30, 2021 8:36:28 PM
Also, seeing as you brought it up...for a bar to deliberately continue to serve a patron when they know that person is intoxicated is criminal. There is such a thing as responsibility to society. You might not care if that said person crashes his/her car on the way home, but there is the real chance that they will take innocent lives along with them in such a scenario.
Such is the case with the people who run these corporations. They have a duty to protect society in their everyday operations. If they show a lack of regard for the safety of society in their actions, then they have to be held accountable.
Posted by: neil | May 30, 2021 9:46:16 PM
Jason Buckland wrote the article on may30 about the most stressful jobs. Jason, imagine getting up at 3am into the cab of a gravel truck, you turn the key and drive, for 13 hours straight you do not stop, you cannot stop for a break and you drive at maximum speed, because if you dont you are fired. This is the gravel trucking industry. You have 136 000 lbs under your seat and cannot stop on a dime. A new mercedes whips in front of you not having the slightest clue that trucks can't stop the same. You stomach drops in fear as luckily you atleast expected it coming. Close call. Throughout the day expect atleast another close call. The strategic planning of the lights so you dont have to stop. If you get too many red lights, you wont pull your quota for the day and risk losing your job. And less pay. Pay attention to those guages, hows the air pressure in the braking system. opps is that lady at the next light really going to pull out iin front of me, omg, I jam the brakes on, smell those brakes burning, one big brake burn could get me fired. I would never have pulled out in front of her, because she would get on her cell phone, while driving and putting on her lipstick and call and report to my company and I would lose my job. Id like to stop sometime quick and sprint into a coffe shop, just to keep awake as my body is failing with fatigue, but I cant because all of the parking lots have been designed so trucks cant pull in. I cant park on the road either because there are no stops signs. Oh, there is a spot over there on the gravel shoulder, I will hop out and piss on my back tire. Oh there is a green and white ministry car, hes coming over to me, he says,"excuse me sir","can I see all your paperwork for the day.if you dont have the paperwork, i am going to fine you $375. I have it thank god. Oops I forgot to put the date down , here is your ticket sir he says, which your company will not pay.
All day long a truck driver risks his own personal insurance to go up after any incidence, and basically after an accident your whole carreer is finished. There is more risk to this job, more stress than a fire fighter. The chances of being killed are by far greater as well. You want to talk stress Jason, go try driving a big truck for the day, you will be so mentally drained by the end of the day that I think you would put this job at the top of the list or right near the air traffick controller job. Next time you see a big gravel truck nearby, maybe give him a little room. And it will be a he in the truck because no woman would go through this stress and accept the low class symbol of it, when there are so many opportunities now for gravy jobs for them. Lets leave this job for the white male such as myself who is pretty much banned from a government job.