The Gulf of Mexico and BP will survive
While things are looking pretty grim for the Gulf of Mexico, it is no stranger to having oil contaminate its ecosystem. Indeed natural processes are responsible for over 60 percent of the petroleum entering North American waters according to the National Academies. I'm not saying the BP disaster is excusable but sometimes having some sense of proportion can lead informed discussion instead of a media circus. The NASA Earth Observatory scientists estimated in 2000 that oil seeps from the sea floor at over 600 locations. In aggregate, the annual volume of natural seepage in the Gulf of Mexico is conservatively estimated to equal that of two Exxon Valdez spills every year. The issue with the BP disaster is that all the oil is coming from a single source like a fire hose instead of hundreds of leaking faucets. The use of dispersants may help mitigate the damage and give hydrocarbon degrading microbes a better chance to chow down on some of the spill.
Meanwhile shares of BP continue to plummet and British pensioners are now at risk of having their retirement income slide into the abyss.
BP is the most important company on the UK stock market by a considerable margin. Roughly £1 in every £6 received in dividends by UK pension funds comes from BP, so a cut would severely impact almost every saver in the land.
Who knew that BP stood for British pensions?
15 year monthly chart of BP Amoco .
Thanks to Bernie Hensel of Raymond James for passing along the pension article.