The Exxon Valdez dumped 260,000 barrels of oil off the coast of Alaska, and ExxonMobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) ended up spending about $4 billion in the wake of that disaster. That means Exxon spent nearly 600 times more on cleanup and litigation than what the oil was actually worth at that time.
So how much will BP PLC's (NYSE ADR: BP) Gulf oil spill, which is significantly greater, set it back?
The fact is, it's still impossible to know exactly how much BP will have to cough up to cleanse itself of this crude fiasco without knowing the full extent of the damage caused. But the picture is getting a little bit clearer each day the cleanup effort wears on.