NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- I don't believe there was a company more hated than BP (BP) following its 2010 Gulf of Mexico rig explosion that caused 200 million gallons of crude oil to make its way across 16,000 total miles. Although, there were only 11 reported deaths, 8,000 animals lost their lives. Not to mention, the hardship the spill caused many residence of Louisiana and Mississippi, among other places.
This was -- without a doubt -- a disaster. But I don't believe it warranted the death sentence that many BP opponents demanded. It seems unfair to vilify BP and not Exxon Mobil (XOM), whose oil tanker, Exxon Valdez, spilled 11 million gallons of crude in Prince William Sound in Alaska in 1989. Besides, it wasn't as if BP employees intentionally laced the rig with dynamite that caused the explosion and the subsequent spill.
For that matter, BP recently absorbed close to $40 million in charges in the recent quarter and taken in almost $300 million year to date in charges. What's more, management has been working diligently to sell off $38 billion worth of assets to finance clean-up costs which have risen to more than $40 billion. Yet, the Street still seems unsure about BP's future. But given that the company has settled the majority of its litigation concerns, the situation is not as murky as it once was.
Bears will insists that I've become a BP apologist. But the other side of the coin shows that the company has handled the situation better than most pundits believed it would. BP management has accepted responsibility for the spill and has made no excuses for the damage it has caused. Not only has BP set up a $20 billion fund to pay disaster victims, but the company has also agreed to pay an additional $4 billion in criminal charges.