It's the Environment, Stupid.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I really don’t mean to keep picking on ExxonMobil, but…

Everyone's favorite oil company has just signed a deal with Indonesia’s Pertamina to jointly operate a giant untapped oil reserve! (do you think any one told them that Bush wants to get the U.S. off foreign oil?) According to the AP: “Exxon and Pertamina, which plan to jointly invest $2 billion to develop the block, said in a joint press statement Monday that they'd agreed to a 30-year production-sharing contract in which each company would share 45 percent interest in the block. The remaining 10 percent would go to the local governments, they said.” That’s nice that they’ll give 10% to the Indonesian government, it's such a good will thing to do (and totally spinnable for a giving back to the community campaign – plus the untapped reserve thing supports their ‘no peak in sight’ propaganda/ad.)

I wonder though, with all this untapped potential wealth, if ExxonMobil will have anything left over to pay out the $4.5 billion they still owe over the Valdez spill? I mean, it was nearly 17 years ago – surely, everyone has forgotten about the blackened coastline, and the oil soaked birds and sea otters, and the devastated economies around Prince William Sound. Well, I guess not EVERYONE, some people are still pretty ticked off – as was reported in the Seattle PI yesterday. The P-I also did a little Valdez/Exxon(Mobil) number crunching:

· $300 million: Paid by Exxon in actual damage claims
· $2.3 billion: Spent by Exxon in cleanup
· $4.5 billion: Punitive damages against Exxon
· $25 million: What Exxon claims it owes in punitive damages
· $36 billion: ExxonMobil 2005 profit
· 32,000: Remaining plaintiffs
· 11 million: Gallons of crude spilled
· 1,300: Miles of coastline fouled
· 2,800: Number of sea otters killed by spill*
*Estimate by Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council

Being able to tap into an untapped oil reserve while simultaneously litigating your way out of your debt to society: priceless.


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