I've written a myriad of articles dealing with the BP
It seems that the Horizon's blown-out well and the relief well that's been drilled to it, have finally been linked. So now, the two wells will be cemented three and a half miles beneath the sea's surface.
Specifically -- and probably this weekend -- mud and cement will be pumped from the relief well to seal the combination from the bottom. Once that's completed, additions to the more than 200 million gallons of oil that gushed into the Gulf between April and July shouldn't occur. Of course, residents of the Gulf and much of the energy industry will be unable to wash their hands of the event for possibly decades to come, since there remain untold amounts of oil to yet be removed.
And that's not all. Rest assured that the two primary companies involved in the accident, along with the likes of Halliburton
More immediately, with deepwater rigs and their workers idled by the Obama administration's drilling moratorium and shallow water permits being issued at a snail's pace, the Interior Department has found work for those with time on their hands. Operators of the 3,500 wells that haven't been productive for at least five years have been ordered to permanently plug those wells, while the 650 unused Gulf production platforms must also be dismantled.
Generally, wells have been closed temporarily, such that they can be reopened for later production. But when they're plugged permanently, those opportunities are generally foregone. Further, the cost of the permanent plugging and dismantling has been estimated at $1.5 billion to $3.5 billion. Beyond that, the lost production opportunities from the permanent plugging -- which typically can't be reversed -- could hit $18 billion.
But as Fools, you're probably wondering how to handle all this from an investment standpoint. Actually, BP is among the companies I'd closely watch these days. Certainly it faces extensive litigation. However, it also has a host of valuable assets worldwide, along with a share price that was chopped by events that day on the Deepwater Horizon.
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