I keep thinking about the oil that has been recovered from the spill and how much can be recovered in the future. BP has reported that 14,800 barrels were recovered on June 7, and that proceeds from the sale of the captured oil will be donated to a new wildlife fund. This gesture may be well intentioned, but the impact will likely be minimal. At $72 per barrel, the recovered oil on June 7 represents a bit over $1.0 million.
Corporations must be profit-driven in order to survive and thrive, to be able to reward their investors and they must evolve to respond to changing markets and consumer needs. Instead of using a "stick" as a response to this disaster, why not use a "carrot"? In my opinion, this recovered oil is the most valuable oil in the world. If released into the environment, the cost is far beyond financial value; the dispersed oil taxes our future through lost jobs, public health risks and unborn wildlife. If BP viewed recovery of this oil as a means towards increasing profits, it is likely that they will invest more resources into efficient recovery and in accomplishing the recovery as quickly as possible.
As a consumer, how much would you pay for the recovered oil? Perhaps this precious commodity could be offered for bidding to the highest payer. Imagine a bidding war amongst the world's most wealthy individuals, with the prize being to not only claim that you are driving the recovery of the environment in the Gulf, but are a major player in driving profits of BP itself and the petroleum industry. Ultimately, BP could use these additional profits to support environmental preservation and research into alternative renewal energy sources. Yes, BP does invest in alternative fuels, but use of these profits would have special significance.
This approach may seem radical, but our economy is replete with examples of highly sought-after commodities garnering huge profits. We know that commodities can have a vast range of value, depending upon availability and emotion of the buyer. Consider unique pieces of art, that highly rated bottle of wine from a bygone era, that collectible automobile. The oil from a land-locked safely secured well may be considered as a "two buck Chuck" bottle of wine, but recovered oil from the BP spill is comparatively a $2,000 bottle of Mouton Rothschild.