The Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico and Its Effects on the Stock Market



May 2, 2010

What Happened

Up to five thousand barrels a day are thought to be leaking from the site of the Deepwater Horizon rig which sank on 22 April after an explosion in which 11 workers lost their lives and left the uncapped well gushing oil nearly a mile below the water's surface about 40 miles offshore.

There are fears that the disaster could reach the scale of the 11m gallon Exxon Valdez spill off Alaska in 1989.

Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico

Companies Involved

The oil drilling platform is leased by BP PLC (BP), which was owned by Transocean (RIG).

Halliburton Co. (HAL ) workers were also on the rig when the blast took place. The rig's blowout preventer was made by Cameron International Corp. (CAM )

Fishing Industry at Risk

Ten days later, crude oil washed into coastal wetlands of South Pass, near the mouth of the Mississippi River. This threatens the livelihood of Gulf Coast fishermen who harvest a living from the region's abundant sea life.

Effects on the Insurance Industry

The spill, currently pegged at a circumference of about 600 miles, could ultimately generate insurance claims and costs of more than $1 billion for the insurance industry, according to PartneRe, a Bermuda reinsurance firm.

Effects on the Energy Sector

Concern of what it could mean for the energy sector has rippled through Wall Street. Since April 20, BP shares have fallen 14%; Transocean has plunged 23%; Cameron is down 19%; and Halliburton has lost 9%.


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