As prospects before BP get darker by the day, and the likelihood of bankruptcy grows, the TBTF propaganda begins. Evidence A - Bloomberg headline: "BP Demise Would Threaten U.S. Energy Security, Industry." Just as the failure of bankrupt banks was supposed to lead to the destruction of capitalism, so the bankruptcy of BP plc is now supposed to lead to the degeneration of US energy independence. And who in their mind would force the Chapter 11 of a systemically important company? Once again, free market capitalism is about to walk out through the back door...
The company’s demise would be disruptive to the American oil industry, given that BP is the largest oil and gas producer in the U.S., with about 1 million barrels per day of production. Some 7,000 of BP’s 23,000 U.S. employees work in the Houston area, many in a suburban office park just off the Katy Freeway.
From there the company runs its Gulf of Mexico offshore operations with a phalanx of engineers, geologists, and computer scientists. “These are highly compensated people,” says J. Robinson West, chairman of Washington-based consultants PFC Energy.
But more than just billions in annual individual tax revenue, BP also serves a "critical" FR role. If not for BP, it would have been the end of the world.
BP’s skill at negotiating access to new energy resources, especially in strategically important regions, has also served U.S. interests.
The company opened up Azerbaijan, a major producer in the Caspian Sea region, for oil development. It has developed two oil and gas fields there, as well as the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan crude oil pipeline through Turkey that opened in 2004 and offers a counterweight to Russian dominance in the region.
A collapse or liquidation of assets by BP will surely shift the balance of energy power toward the Russians and the Chinese. This, too, will certainly result in the end of the world.
A person familiar with BP’s investment plans says it may need to raise as much as $50 billion to cover costs related to the disaster. Oppenheimer & Co. oil analyst Fadel Gheit thinks BP could end up in bankruptcy if costs exceed $100 billion, a possibility if partners in the stricken well, such as Anadarko Petroleum Corp., manage to pin full legal responsibility for the oil spill on the U.K.-based producer.
If so, BP may have to part with some prized assets, and Chinese and Russian oil companies less sympathetic to U.S. interests could step in as buyers and change the geopolitics of the oil industry.
“Companies will be interested in buying assets in Azerbaijan, Angola, Brazil, and potentially also Norway,” says Gudmund Halle Isfeldt, an analyst at DnB Nor ASA in Oslo, Norway’s largest bank.
So now that we know BP is the new AIG, and the new media campaign is to paint it as this year's TBTF, the only question we need to ask is how many billions in CDS has Goldman sold that reference the BP, and/or how many billions in counterparty risk the firm has outstanding with BP? Surely the answer is "lots", and a simple and elegant solution that would prevent the domino effect that bring take down Goldman and its peers, is the taxpayer funded bailout of the energy giant, which has quietly morphed into another too big to fail company. The opportunity cost, of course, is a ten million march of all soon to be terminally unemployed, and very agnry, gulf workers headed toward D.C. and 200 West.