Despite a bad rep, BP may still come out on top

Storm clouds advance upon a BP sign in Peckham, south London.

TEXT OF STORY

JEREMY HOBSON: BP has returned to profitability. The British Oil giant reported a net profit of almost $2 billion today, even as it raised the estimated cost of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

As Marketplace's Eve Troeh reports the disaster in the gulf may not be a permanent stain on BP's bottom line.


Eve Troeh: BP is likely to be a bad guy in the court of public opinion for, well, decades. Past disasters prove that, says energy analyst Phil Weiss.

Phil Weiss: When you hear the term Valdez you think of Exxon, even though that was 20 years ago.

The Valdez spill proves another point. The year Exxon coated the Alaska coast with oil -- it still saw $3.8 billion in profits. Weiss says BP's bottom line won't take a long-term hit from the Gulf spill, either.

Weiss: While reputation can sometimes depress a stock price, it doesn't really have anything to do with how the business is running.

Which, he says, is still strong.

You'd think environmentalists would resent that, but Elgie Holstein with the Environmental Defense Fund says it's good news the company is healthy.

Elgie Holstein: Those that have claims for damages against BP, including the federal government, will be in a strong position to collect on those fines and penalties.

Even if it takes 20 years, like it did for the Exxon Valdez.

I'm Eve Troeh for Marketplace.

About the author

Eve Troeh is News Director at WWNO-FM in New Orleans, La., helping build the first public radio news department in the station’s 40-year history. She reported for the Marketplace Sustainability Desk from 2010 to 2013.

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