There are more and more articles with lots of quotes and speculation coming out as the 2/25 Deepwater Horizon Phase 1 civil trial approaches. (Today's Bloomberg story focusing on HAL's defenses is a good example.) Publicity will surely intensify next week as things get underway, but even assuming it tapers off a bit the trial will continue for months, so the flow of newsworthy testimony will continue for a long time. I think RIG is well positioned for a tolerable result, and the main focus will surely remain on BP, but even so I'm wondering if (or how much) this publicity will be a drag on RIG's share price.
Looks like there's a publicity pattern in place after 4 days of trial. It consists of daily reports of witness testimony that highlights the blameworthy conduct of BP (which BP pretty much admits while making the point that it wasn't the only naughty defendant) and to a lesser extent the substandard performance of RIG and HAL (which they pretty much have to admit as well, while saying that their fault pales beside that of BP because they were only contractors but BP was the "operator" of the well with responsibility and control over all the activities associated with the drilling project). As the trial will go on for months, the daily flow of news like this will continue, creating uncertainty and anxiety regardless of how the cumulative testimony really impacts RIG's trial/defense strategy. So I foresee RIG's share price lanquishing for a while. JMHO.
Deflect more than shift. There isn't much left to shift, considering that BP has settled with the class plaintiffs who are pursuing RIG, and RIG has settled with the US gov't that is pursuing BP. The only claimants who are pursuing both of them are the 5 states, and without question their main target is BP.