Photo via Incident News
Even as the perpetrators of the biggest environmental catastrophe in US history tout their efforts to clean up the oil spill swirling around the Gulf, they neglect to mention one thing: they still stand to make millions of dollars over the coming months off it. And for that matter, so does the federal government. In fact, BP could make $85 million over the next 60 days, and the feds could make $19 mil. How could this possibly be? McClatchy explains:
If the current containment effort works -- and BP and the government say they're optimistic that it will -- the oil giant will salvage much of the oil that's now spewing from the crumpled pipes on the ocean floor. That captured oil, McClatchy estimates, could generate more than $1.4 million in revenue for BP each day.That oil then gets piped into a drill ship, where it gets processed and transported to a refinery--just like oil from any other source would. So where do the feds come in?
The people who own the deepwater site that's leased to BP -- U.S. taxpayers -- could see a more modest windfall. The Treasury could be due as much as $328,125 in royalties daily, or $19 million total over 60 days. Further, under its lease BP also must pay royalties on the oil lost in the spill, which would mean another $13.5 million.So according to BP's lease on the site, they must pay for any oil that flows on through -- as well as paying royalties on lost oil. There's nothing unusual about the US government collecting royalties on oil as per the lease, and one can't blame BP for bringing the collected oil to market.
But it does raise questions about the company's preferred containment methods, and whether it has placed a priority on potentially less-effective methods for the sake of being able to profit off the salvaged oil. This seems to me to be a distinct possibility: Remember they tried two "top hats" to contain -- and siphon -- and lowering a giant tube to collect a portion of the oil before they attempted a 'top kill' to blast the well closed. Until further investigation, this remains but a possibility, though I think one that warrants closer scrutiny.