Wednesday, June 16, 2010

BP Sets Aside $20 Billion For Spill Compensation

British Petroleum is putting aside $20 billion for spill compensation. This is a down payment on the damage, and will in no way be sufficient to compensate all those damaged by the oil spill. A 3d party administrator will probably be along the lines of the victim compensation fund set up in the aftermath of 9/11 to handle claims by victims of the attacks and run by Kenneth Feinberg.

I'm not surprised that Feinberg's name is showing up here.

Not only did he handle the victim compensation fund for the 9/11 attack, but he was again called on to administer the sick workers fund (once that gets approved by the members of the class). He also got called on to handle executive compensation following the Wall Street meltdown and ensuing hot air from Congress over executive pay.

He's real good at what he does and is generally seen as reasonable and fair in determining awards.

But to put the $20 billion in perspective, $20 billion is the amount that was thrown around in the days after 9/11 to pay for the rebuilding efforts. That severely underestimated the costs there too.

In fact, the costs for Louisiana alone may top $100 billion although it is unlikely that they will ever recoup those losses. Florida, Alabama and Mississippi would similarly see serious losses - and if the spill reaches out into the Atlantic, other states could see massive losses.

And that doesn't touch on the international liabilities if the oil damages coastlines of other countries along the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean.

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