How do you figure? There's no fiduciary responsibility to lie.

True, but you have to prove they were lying rather than simply calculating conservatively. There is a lot of room for manuevering in making estimates. Someone would have to define the point at which lowballing becomes lying. For example, the range of some independent estimates runs from 20,000 barrels per day to 80,000+ barrels per day, a range of plus or minus 30,000 barrels. That's a big range.

Also there is a huge new dimension of the problem: the deep water spill has introduced a split layer of oil. The vast bulk of the oil is still deep in the ocean, not on the surface. There is no precedent for estimating the damage, if any, that should be assigned to that. As far as I know, at least. The surface oil is just the "tip of the iceberg" so to speak. No one yet knows how the vast lens of oil beneath the surface will be dispersed and what actionable damage it might do.

I'm not sure how you arrived at this number, but that's absolutely not possible. BP's market cap is only $130b. Total actual damages in the Exxon Valdez case were only $287m, so unless this spill is 17000 times worse than that one, costs won't approach $5T.

I already made the corrections, but you must have missed them. I got off a couple magnitudes, from a combination of errors, one arithmetic, one from baseline data. I double-checked the data after that. Just so you know, the error was the number I remembered was the

*gallons* figure, 140 M gallons, not

*barrels*. That changes the number quite a bit. Add to that a decimal place slip and you get a double magnitude error. But as you pointed out, it was an obvious high number which I quickly double-checked and fixed.