Tuesday, July 27, 2010

FP morning brief 7/27

BP names new CEO, posts record loss

Top story: BP named Robert Dudley its new CEO on Tuesday. The decision makes Dudley, a Hattiesburg, Mississippi native, the first non-British chief executive in the oil giant's history. He will replace Tony Hayward, who was widely criticized for his handling of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. BP executives and investors are hoping that Dudley can rebuild the company's reputation in the United States, where roughly one-third of BP's business interests are based.

Dudley had previously worked for U.S. oil company Amoco, which was purchased by BP in 1998. He managed BP's TNK-BP joint venture in Moscow, but the partnership ended in a dispute after Dudley clashed with the firm's Russian partners. He was eventually denied a visa to enter Russia.

BP also reported a record $17 billion loss in the second financial quarter, after accepting a $32.2 charge for covering the costs associated with the oil spill. That includes a $20 billion escrow fund that the company established, after meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama, to resolve the claims of Gulf residents whose livelihoods have been affected by the spill. To cover these losses, BP plans to sell $30 billion in assets over the next 18 months.

Body of U.S. sailor found: One of two U.S. sailors missing in Afghanistan has been found dead, a NATO spokesman confirmed on Tuesday. The two service members were last seen driving an armored sports utility vehicle into the eastern province of Logar, which is considered a Taliban stronghold. The Taliban claimed to have killed one of the soldiers in a firefight, and captured the other.

Middle East
Russia condemned new EU sanctions against Iran as "unacceptable."
The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction criticized the Defense Department for being unable to properly account for reconstruction funds.
Hamas officials said they were looking to expand their security force, raising the possibility in the future of a draft.

Burmese leader Than Shwe received a red carpet welcome during a state visit to India.
Chinese officials said that flooding will peak at the Three Gorges Dam during the next 24 hours.
Kyrgyzstan seeks $1 billion in aid to rebuild the southern city of Osh.

British Prime Minister David Cameron promised to "fight" for Turkey's accession to the EU.
The U.S. government released the letter that it sent to the Scottish government regarding the release of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.
Serbian legislators passed a resolution vowing never to recognize Kosovo as an independent state.

The African Union pledged to bolster its peacekeeping force in Somalia.
11 Somali pirates have been sentenced to 10 years in prison in the Seychelles.
A human rights group is suing Britain for failing to refer companies conducting trade illegally in the Democratic Republic of Congo for U.N. sanctions.

Ecuador will renegotiate oil contracts with private companies, in a bid to expand state control over the industry.
For the first time in 50 years, neither Raul nor Fidel Castro delivered an address during Cuba's annual "Revolution Day."
The Pentagon said that it could take "weeks" to assess the damage from the documents released by Wikileaks on Sunday.
-David Kenner
Alexey SAZONOV/AFP/Getty Images

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