The story in today’s New York Times that included my comments on the possibility of a BP bankruptcy offers a good overview of the issues involved, but it also looks at bankruptcy of the “parent” company. (story here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/10/us/10bp.html?hp)
Along with again noting that most such questions can only be answered then the spill is stopped, it should also be noted that when we have asked courts to order BP to do things, like stop demanding that boat captains sign away their legal rights just to work on the spill, we don’t actually sue the parent company, we sue BP America.
There are layers and layers of legal complexity on the BP bankruptcy front. What if they try to limit liability to the American company, or some other entity they’ve created for limiting liability? That at least would be a United States issue, if the parent company did seek bankruptcy protection, that would most likely begin in London.
So that complexity is interesting enough, but the next wave of details that impact those most devastated by the spill will be the rules governing the BP “$20 billion fund” payments. But, to repeat myself from the NYT story, my concern level that BP will try to limit liability via bankruptcy is less than it was when this mess started.
As we say: Stay tuned.