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We get so focused in on everything bad, that we fail to see brilliant signs of people who are really doing well in this economy.    Despite the harshest of adversities - that little set back thing in the gulf about a year ago - if you can remember that - this company has really flourished.   People wrote them off for dead.  But great PR, great management and government's willing to work with them saved this company from potential failure.   So, three cheers for BP!

For a while there, it was bad.   How do you recover from the spill?  Now, everyone asks: What spill!?!

Almost a year ago, investors became so nervous in the weeks following the Macondo blowout in the Gulf of Mexico that they briefly wouldn't lend to BP. They feared the British oil giant could be crushed under the weight of tens of billions of dollars in fines, cleanup costs, and payments to families of the 11 rig workers killed and businesses affected by the worst oil spill in U.S. history. They turned out to be wrong. Not only is BP still in business, it has more cash today than before the spill.

Not only was it a stunning accomplishment, but BP's effective ad campaign and marketing have allowed them to offer up $20B but only spend $3.6 in payouts and 10B in cleanup, making it far cheaper then they ever figured - about $16B less then they had estimated, a real success story for their leadership.

Last June, even before taking over from Tony Hayward, Dudley helped set up the $20 billion Gulf Coast Claims Facility trust fund that to date has handed out just $3.6 billion in awards so far to individuals and businesses hurt by the spill. By the end of 2010, BP had spent another $10.7 billion on the cleanup, including the cost of deploying skimming boats, floating oil booms, airplanes, and crews that combed beaches and swamps for oily residue.

And 2010 / early 2011 is so good to them that it still leave them not hurting for cash but cash ahead

BP has the financial flexibility to weather most storms. Despite its hefty spill-related spending, BP's cash pile more than doubled in 2010, to $18.6 billion. Free cash flow will likely be another $8 billion to $10 billion this year at current oil-price levels, estimates Fadel Gheit, an analyst at Oppenheimer & Co. in New York. Gheit figures BP has a breakup value of $300 billion,

Please note that this isn't cash flow before the payouts, this is cash flow AFTER the $17B spent.   So, in a fantastic success of market management, BP weathered the storm and came out about $18B ahead (give or take a billion here or there).

BP's success doesn't just stop there.

OAO TNK-BNP Holding, the Moscow- traded unit of BP Plc (BP/)’s Russian venture, rose to the highest in almost three months after a report that BP will ask for government permission to buy out its partners.

TNK-BP rose 2.2 rubles, or 2.4 percent, to 93.49 rubles as of the 6:45 p.m. close in Moscow, the highest since Jan. 19. That values the company at 1.4 trillion rubles ($50 billion)

BP may make a bid with OAO Rosneft for the 50 percent of TNK-BP held by four billionaires in an attempt to salvage a share swap and Arctic exploration deal with Russia’s state oil company, the Financial Times reported today, without saying where it got the information.

Today, BP is getting ready to close in on a $50B deal to take over a large percentage of all drilling rights for Russia/Siberia.

At the time, so many thought that a liberal/progressive administration would punish, and break BP.   They were afraid when Obama stood up and said:

I refuse to let that happen. Tomorrow, I will meet with the chairman of BP and inform him that he is to set aside whatever resources are required to compensate the workers and business owners who have been harmed as a result of his company's recklessness. And this fund will not be controlled by BP. In order to ensure that all legitimate claims are paid out in a fair and timely manner, the account must and will be administered by an independent, third party.

Sure, at the time, everyone thought: this will be what moves us to clean energy.  We've announced a National Panel for it (I can't find links on if that panel has met, which may be even better!  Just announce it!)  And then people thought:  maybe this will cost Florida and states billions in tourism

But you know, in the end, for all the concern, we come here today as BP is about to close two of the worlds biggest sales, and it will crack an exclusive club with a market cap of over 500B dollars, and we have to raise our glasses.

In a down economy, with all the chips against them, BP succeeded.   Fantastic leadership, the ability to read and work with the public - to offer tons of money but even while doing it to make sure people are both confused enough about how to get it and love you so much they don't want to take it, and to come through it all on the other side $18.6B cash ahead in a disaster year.

This is the Horatio Alger success story of our generation, from G5 jets with a short fear of losing cuervo gold rounds to flying into Moscow to buy up the factories.  Brings tears to my eyes.

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