Bob Dudley…what are we playing for?

"You bet your life? Hell yeah, I play that game every day baby...not with my life, of course..."

British Petroleum’s CEO, Bob Dudley has provided estimates to the business world and more importantly, to its investors that BP’s share of costs associated with the Deepwater Horizon will not exceed $40 billion dollars when all is said and done. Still trying to reassure his company’s investors, Dudley has even indicated that dividend payments will resume again in the new year.

Course, there is a lot riding on those statements and actually, it is somewhat of a gamble.

In order to meet these two goals, the estimate’s accuracy and the dividend payments, it is becoming increasingly important that BP not be found guilty of gross negligence which would quadruple the per barrel fine, and the recent uplift in BP’s stock prices assisted by these announced goals? Yeah, those stocks would again fall.

So keeping this in mind, there is ample reason for BP to keep pointing fingers at Transocean and Halliburton, according to David Prosser, business writer for the Independent:

“It is important that BP does not have to shoulder the full responsibility for the spill when Mr Reilly (Oil spill commission co-chair) makes his final report to President Obama in the New Year. And not just because sharing the blame might leave BP feeling just a little less uncomfortable. What is more important is that if Mr Reilly finds the British company only jointly culpable for what happened, he is much less likely to say it was guilty of gross negligence.”

Ah, business strategy…well, If there is one thing we all seem to continue learning about British Petroleum, it is just how strategic they are about trying to save money and cut costs, and this would seem to be more important to them than human lives, taking responsibility for their actions or doing what someone of sound conscience would consider to be the right thing, the moral thing.

From the Oil Spill Commission’s document that shows BP’s risky decisions on the Deepwater Horizon to their use of toxic chemical dispersants to drive the oil from sight, from the hiring of Ken Feinberg as arbitrator of the escrow fund to the stipulation that the fund money not paid out be given back to the company, from BP’s new insistence that the government’s estimate of spilled barrels could be off by as much as 50% to their refusal to give Gulf Coast charities further funding in helping residents make rent payments, pay utilities or put food on their tables: all strategy, all cost cutting, all serving British Petroleum’s interests.

BP appears to have never really been about making things right; their actions seem to indicate they are only about making things right enough. So it would seem in very poor taste for Bob to make this gamble, to make his suggestions and estimates, especially when these rosy scenarios appear to be based on BP’s attorneys finding a way for the company to shirk their moral responsibilities to the Gulf, again.

Senator Mary Landrieu and other lawmakers are trying to pass legislation that would direct 80% of the fine levied against BP towards the Gulf Coast and its repair, so when BP is doing all that they can to drastically cut into that money amount by lowballing the government’s oil estimates and avoiding a decision of gross negligence this is more than big business just being big business and trying to protect their own.

This is another example of a company’s failure to live up to the slogans of their public relations TV commercials.

This is a gamble at the expense of the Gulf Coast.

And though it may be legal, this is wrong.

Have a nice day.

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