But if BP were to go under (a big if), it wouldn’t simply close up shop. Somebody would buy up those units and/or competitors would come in to take over the contracts. It’s hard to see how too many of those workers lose their jobs, even if somehow Congress allowed Gazprom or CNOOC to come in and take over.

The blogger Tyler Durden of Zero Hedge is smart to sniff out this press angle, noting the parallels to the too-big-to-fail banks:

As prospects before BP get darker by the day, and the likelihood of bankruptcy grows, the TBTF propaganda begins. Evidence A - Bloomberg headline: “BP Demise Would Threaten U.S. Energy Security, Industry.” Just as the failure of bankrupt banks was supposed to lead to the destruction of capitalism, so the bankruptcy of BP plc is now supposed to lead to the degeneration of US energy independence. And who in their mind would force the Chapter 11 of a systemically important company?

Indeed. The message is that if we know what’s good for us, we’ll go easy on BP.

They’ve got us over a barrel, so to speak. How convenient.

Further Reading:

WSJ Comes Up Short on BP Boycott Effects. Some of these stories read like PR plants.

More on Boycotting BP from the LAT.

Beleaguered Pensioners: It’s a good thing that BP investors are taking it on the chin.

The Economist Off the Deep End on BP and “Vladimir Obama.”

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu. Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum.