BP Prepares for Litigation

Lawsuits against BP (NYSE:BP) over the Gulf of Mexico spill have the company preparing vigorously. BP is ready to settle about 600 civil suits set for later this month, but will be fighting others, according to Chief Executive Bob Dudley.

BP estimates the total cost of the oil spill to be around $43 billion. Currently, litigation costs are more than $2 billion.

BP’s replacement cost net profit increased 65 percent from last year though stripping out one-offs; the result rose 14 percent. The increase was despite an abnormally low tax rate, and a 26 percent rise in the Brent crude price. Lower production and assets sales weighed on the result to help pay for the oil spill, pushing output down to 3.49 million barrels of oil equivalent per day in the quarter.

Dudley expects output, excluding BP’s Russian field, to be flat in 2012. The company said it was raising its capital expenditure budget for 2012 planning to invest more in exploration and production.

BP Also Rebranding

Despite being only one company in a group including Transocean (NYSE:RIG), Cameron International (NYSE:CAM) and Halliburton (NYSE:HAL), BP compounded the already bad situation was the fact that BP had branded itself with the tag “Beyond Petroleum” since 2000, essentially claiming that it was an environmentally conscious company (“BP,” of course, actually stands for “British Petroleum”).  The marketing campaign was actually very successful, and actually too successful for its own good, since the Gulf disaster and the revelations that came out about BP’s priorities in the preceding years and in the aftermath made the tag line appear to be the ultimate in disingenuousness.

Here’s how these stocks are trading now:

BP plc (NYSE:BP): BP shares recently traded at $46.50, down $0.37, or 0.79%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $33.62 to $49.09. Volume today was 7,763,417 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 6,537,230 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 6.44, while trailing earnings are $7.22 per share.

Transocean Ltd. (NYSE:RIG): RIG shares recently traded at $48.94, down $0.78, or 1.57%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $38.21 to $85.98. Volume today was 2,016,597 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 7,585,480 shares. The company’s trailing earnings are $-1.25 per share.

Halliburton Company (NYSE:HAL): HAL shares recently traded at $36.63, down $0.77, or 2.06%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $27.21 to $57.77. Volume today was 10,391,504 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 17,859,000 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 11.87, while trailing earnings are $3.08 per share.

Cameron International Corporation (NYSE:CAM): CAM shares recently traded at $56.61, down $0.65, or 1.14%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $38.77 to $63.16. Volume today was 1,524,845 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 3,046,890 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 27.12, while trailing earnings are $2.09 per share.