Checking BP’s life signs

June 15, 2010

Lawmakers are blasting Big Oil on Capitol Hill, but most of the execs from Exxon, Conoco, Chevron etc may have more to gain from the slap-down then they stand to lose if you consider the real target of their ire, BP.

For weeks, with its share price scraping the sea bed, BP has been the subject of take-under talk. Every time another politician assigns another zero to the end of the cost of the clean-up, and each call for BP to cut its dividend, puts the British company’s future further into question.

And why wouldn’t BP’s competitors want to see a weakened rival possibly turn up as cheap easy pieces to pick up in forced asset sales?

At least French coutnerpart Total, which was not on the witness stand today, has promised to keep its hands off.

“In a somewhat polite way, the other oil companies are throwing BP under the bus,” Richard Beales of Breakingviews comments. In a less polite sense, they may well be ready with the ambulance as well.

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