At my checkup this week, Dr. Sawbones and I spent most of our time discussing the market. I must admit that his statement that he's buying BP
But I later came to the conclusion that my doctor just might be onto something. While there will be eons devoted to cleanup in the Gulf, I won't yet reconcile the company to the scrap heap. Indeed, while BP has some expensive reparations ahead of it, it also has some terrific assets. And it appears to be doing a solid job of rounding up the funding that will permit it to meet its obligations.
Last month, it raised $7 billion by selling its Permian Basin business, natural gas assets in Canada, and acreage in Egypt, all to Apache
In addition, BP and the White House apparently are nearing an agreement on funding and collateralizing the $20 billion cleanup and compensation fund that the company has established, $3 billion of which it has paid. The most likely approach would be to use the company's future revenues from the Gulf of Mexico as a funding source. It operates 89 producing wells in the Gulf and has positions in another 60, all of which generate net production to BP of 400,000 barrels a day.
That makes for about 10% of the oil giant's global output. One option for collateral would be to look to production payments from the Gulf wells. At the same time, however, several lawmakers would like to curtail BP's operations in the Gulf, a deal breaker if ever there were one.
With the spill pretty much contained, there are also intensifying probes into the cause of the Deepwater Horizon tragedy that began in April. A plethora of bodies will conduct inquiries, including the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the U.S. Justice Department, and the Coast Guard. Obviously, the focus will be on BP, rig owner Transocean
With things finally progressing in the Gulf, my doctor might know what he's talking about. While there remain lots of question regarding BP, and depending on how the probes shake out, the company's assets might make it worth a Foolish gander.