The math of the decisions made by BP on Wednesday, and the cash on hand question, brought Grote back around to same fundamental decision made by BP on how to play the politics and market aspects of the crisis in tandem.
"We believe that there is enough uncertainty around the wider context that it is important that we run our business in a prudent fashion, therefore, operate with a focus on generating more cash ... while there is uncertainty out there, the company believes it is prudent to bolster the balance sheet to address uncertainties that might exist in the future and we hope you all agree that it is a cautious approach but a prudent approach."
Grote's "hope" was the biggest unresolved question on the call, but not the only one.
The BP CFO was also asked whether any of the other companies with liability in the oil spill, such as Transocean (RIG) or Anadarko Petroleum (APC) would be subject to the decisions made on Wednesday by BP.An analyst questioned whether BP had the right to make these decisions without consulting the other companies, if those companies were to be required to make financial commitments. The BP CFO couldn't speak as to the other companies idea of a "prudent response" but he did make it seem as if these companies were far from off the hook, saying, "We believe the expenditures we are making are appropriate expenditures in response to liabilities, and I expect partners to meet obligations also." In opening remarks to be made in Capitol Hill testimony on Thursday morning, BP CEO Tony Hayward will say "A number of companies are involved, including BP." It's notable that four of the seven items that make the BP CEO's short list of potential causes to investigation in the oil spill are related to the blowout preventer, a device not made by BP, but by Cameron International (CAM). -- Reported by Eric Rosenbaum in New York.
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