Experts Size Up Possible BP Bankruptcy

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Since the April 20 explosion of the oil rig Deepwater Horizon, British-based BP plc’s public standing and stock value have dropped substantially, losing nearly half of its market capitalization. As expenses and liabilities stemming from the disaster continue to grow, press reports continue to surface that BP, the third largest energy company and the fourth largest company in the world, might file for bankruptcy. Hear bankruptcy and legal experts provide their perspectives on what would take place in the event of a bankruptcy filing by BP.

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Bankruptcy Judge Judith K. Fitzgerald has served the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania in Pittsburgh since 1987. A past president of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, she has presided over several major chapter 11 mass tort cases arising from thousands of asbestos claims.

Loretta Cross is a national managing partner at Grant Thornton's Corporate Advisory and Restructuring Services. Specializing in energy company restructurings, Cross has over 25 years of experience in restructuring some of the nation's largest companies. Her most recent engagement was assisting the restructuring of oil drilling company Saratoga Resources.

Dillon E. Jackson is a partner with Foster Pepper & Shefelman PLLC in Seattle, where he concentrates on bankruptcy and other creditor-debtor matters. Jackson is a Fellow in the American College of Bankruptcy, and a member of the American Board of Certification.

Peter S. Kaufman is the managing director of Gordian Group, LLC in New York sand is president and head of Gordian's Restructuring and Distressed M&A practice. Kaufman has more than 25 years of experience in the business of solving complex financial challenges as an investment banker and attorney.

Robert J. Keach a shareholder at Bernstein Shur in Portland, Maine, focuses on the representation of various parties in workouts and bankruptcy cases, including debtors, creditors, creditors’ committees, lessors and third parties acquiring troubled companies and/or their assets. He is a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy and is ABI’s Immediate Past-President.

Ian G. Williams is counsel at Bryan Cave LLP in London, where he advises on insolvency and finance-led work. His most recent cases and matters have involved providing restructuring advice to a range of corporations in financial difficulties, numerous cross-border insolvencies, acting for a range of insolvency practitioners, enforcement of securities and a wide range of banking disputes.


ABI Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano will serve as the moderator for the teleconference.


On April 20, 2010, British-based BP plc’s oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded, killing 11 and creating a massive ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico – the largest offshore spill in U.S. history. The U.S. government named BP as the responsible party in the incident, and officials have said that the company will be held accountable for all cleanup costs resulting from the oil spill. Under pressure from the Obama administration, BP announced on June 16 that it established a $20 billion claims fund for the Deepwater Horizon spill. As expenses and liabilities stemming from the spill continue to grow, press reports have continued to surface that BP, the third largest energy company and the fourth largest company in the world, might have to consider filing for bankruptcy. If BP files for bankruptcy, it would be one of the most complicated and controversial filings in history. Listen to a panel of bankruptcy, restructuring and legal experts discuss what would hypothetically take place in the event of a bankruptcy filing by BP. Speakers on the teleconference include a bankruptcy judge with broad experience in mass tort cases, attorneys representing debtor, creditor, litigant, international and energy stakeholders and an investment banker with experience in crisis situations.

For additional questions or requests regarding the teleconference or to speak with one of ABI’s expert resources, please contact ABI Public Affairs Manager John Hartgen at 703-894-5935 or [email protected].

ABI is the largest multi-disciplinary, nonpartisan organization dedicated to research and education on matters related to insolvency.  ABI was founded in 1982 to provide Congress and the public with unbiased analysis of bankruptcy issues.  The ABI membership includes more than 12,600 attorneys, accountants, bankers, judges, professors, lenders, turnaround specialists and other bankruptcy professionals providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and information.  For additional information on ABI, visit ABI World at  For additional conference information, visit