More Bad News For BP, But Big Oil Stocks Move Higher (BP, CVX, PBR, APC, XOM)
BP (BP), Europe’s second-largest oil company, is trading lower by 3% on news company executives, including former CEO Tony Hayward, could face manslaughter charges from the Justice Department related to their decisions leading up to the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico last April. The explosion led to 11 deaths and triggered the largest oil spill in U.S. history. The news was originally reported by Bloomberg.
The combination of the bad news for BP and lower oil prices isn’t enough to derail the Big Oil and Gas Stocks Index, which is up 0.9% today. Still, these headlines have the potential to be very bad for BP. A source quoted by Reuters said if BP faces manslaughter charges, that enhances the likelihood the company could be found grossly negligent for the spill and that could mean fines of up to $21 billion rather than $5 billion.
Collins Stewart downgraded BP to “sell” from “hold” today due in part to the company’s ongoing tussle with its Russian venture, TNK-BP, over BP’s proposed partnership with OAO Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil producer. The an injunction blocking the partnership was extended last week by an arbitration tribunal.
Chevron (CVX), the second-largest U.S. oil company, is higher by 1% a day after rumors continued to fly about the company perhaps withdrawing from a major Black Sea project with Rosneft. Petroleo Brasileiro (PBR), Brazil’s state-run oil producer, is also up 1%. The company said on Monday it may raise its oil price estimate above $80 a barrel.
Anadarko Petroleum (APC) is down 1% despite saying on Monday that it expects to be working again in the Gulf of Mexico in the second half of this year. Dow component ExxonMobil (XOM), the largest U.S. oil company, is unchanged.
Investors can track the Big Oil and Gas Stocks Index for performance trends and a suite of other metrics at tickerspy.com.
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