Anyone know the population of the entire state of alaska in 1989 for exxon valdez spill? 400,000. Anyone know the population in the affected area? 75,000. Multiply this spills affected population by 10 compared to exxons and add the shorelines of 2 more states. The temperature made the oil coagulate much better and the cleanup was easier. The amount Exxon paid was in 1989 so adjust for inflation. The exxon spill was much smaller than this as well. There is no comparison between these spills. Adjusting for everything mentioned above it is fair to assume BP will end up paying 25B to 50B.
I'm calculating a best case scenario for BP of about 15 billion. However, some of that will be shared with transocean and others. I think some of it depends on where the very large fine is allocated and whether the relief well hits on the first try.
I've read accounts of the ixtoc that suggest 3 months is an EXTREMELY aggressive schedule to get a relief well drilled and operational. I'm discounting all the other solutions because I don't think they will work and may even make things worse.
The really big unknown right now is how much economic damage BP will be on the hook for. In some ways that number could potentially be enough to bankrupt 10 BPs. If BP is literally expected to support the Gulf coast (tourism, fishing, etc) until all this is cleaned up it will obviously bankrupt them. It is not hard at all to imagine that this relief well takes as long as ixtoc and this leak continues well into 2011. By that time it is foregone conclusion that every marsh and wetland in the area will be a wasteland.