BP share price: Oil major completes cleanup of Lake Michigan spill
iNVEZZ.com Monday, April 7: A team comprised of officials from the US Coast Guard, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and BP (LON:BP) last Friday determined that no further clean-up of the oil spill in Lake Michigan is needed. As of 10.20 BST, BP’s shares were trading 1.08p or 0.22 percent lower at 488.97p.
About 1,638 gallons of oil were discharged into the lake when one of BP’s distillation units malfunctioned last month. Following aggressive clean-up efforts, the only remaining oil formed into asphalt and became part of the surrounding rock. According to US Coast Guard officer Jeremy Thomas, the traces left don’t pose a threat to the wildlife. “It’s not in an area where they’re nesting or spending time,” Thomas said. “It’s away from where it would cause an impact.” You can read more on the oil spill at Group raises Lake Michigan spill estimate
**Shareholders to pressure BP on Russian stake and Crimea conflict**
With its annual general meeting scheduled for Thursday, BP is expected to have to explain to shareholders how its holding in Rosneft will be affected by the annexation of Crimea. According to independent analyst Louise Cooper, there is a risk that Russian president Vladimir Putin could decide to expropriate assets from western companies, including BP’s 20 percent stake in Rosneft. About a third of the FTSE 100 oil major’s production comes from its stake in Russia’s biggest oil company.
BP is also likely to be questioned on the continuing legal threats in the US over the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The company has paid out billions in compensations but could subject to a further $20 billion (₤12.1 billion) in costs, on top of the existing $40 billion (₤24 billion), if found guilty of gross negligence by the US Department of Justice. However, HSBC oil analysts Peter Hitchens and Gordon Gray believe that regarding the gross negligence lawsuit, “1) BP’s balance sheet looks strong enough to weather it in our estimates, and 2) we would expect a multi-year appeal process to mean the near-term financial impact would be limited.”
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BP had a major success this year after the EPA lifted its ban on the company, which prevented it from bidding on leases and contracts with the US government. This allowed BP last month to bid for drilling licences in the Gulf of Mexico (Oil giant rejoins Gulf of Mexico lease bidders).
**Analysts on BP**
JPMorgan Chase reaffirmed its ‘overweight’ rating on BP’s shares in a note sent to investors last week. It lifted its price target on the stock to 550.00p from 540.00p.
Five investment analysts rate BP as a ‘sell’, 14 give it a ‘hold’ rating and 12 are calling it a ‘buy’. The shares have a consensus rating of ‘hold’ and an average price target of 487.39p.
**As of 11.17 UTC buy BP shares at 488.81p.**
**As of 11.17 UTC sell BP shares at 488.79p.**