Wednesday, November 3, 2010

BP's (NYSE:BP) Dudley Working on Balancing Defense and Offense

Now that BP (NYSE:BP) has finally entered into a stage where crisis management isn't the word used to describe their purpose, CEO Bob Dudley is seen to be working on bringing balance back to the company, as he retains the defensive posture related to the Gulf, while looking for some offense in relationship to growth.

Some of the final steps that need to be taken are to sell enough assets to pay for the estimated $40 billion the company will pay out through the years.

They've committed to raising about $30 billion through asset sales, and so far have sold off close to $14 billion.

Two assets they haven't made a decision on yet include Prudhoe Bay in Alaska, and its Pan American Energy LLC asset in Argentina. Pan American would bring them as much as $9 billion if they choose to go that route.

Part of BP's problem on the defensive side is awaiting the decision on whether or not they'll be designated as being grossly negligent concerning the oil spill in relationship to the Clean Water Act.

How that is determined could result in a liability differential of up to $10 billion.

It seems they're operating under the assumption they won't be paying the high end of the fine, but still need to raise an additional $16 billion or so to prepare for the financial challenges still remaining.

The problem for BP as a company is it keeps them in a defensive posture until they take care of it, so may take care of it sooner rather than later.

They have time as far as the payouts are concerned, but it's more the psychological factor for workers and the leaders of the company, who need to proceed in a way that shows they're going forward, while being sure they don't end up with any new fiasco.

Neglect of either one will hurt BP, and Dudley, from his comments and decisions, shows he understands that and is working hard to bring that about.

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