Shares of BP plc (NYSE: BP) have leapt today partially on a report in the UK newspaper Daily Mail that Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS.A) may be interested in merging the two global oil giants.
As of 11:54 a.m. (EDT). BP shares are up 2.21 percent in New York trading.
The report also stated that Shell had designs on taking over BP when its shares were badly hurt by the huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year.
BP also got a boost when an attorney overseeing the company $20-billion compensation fund related to oil spill damages said only about half that amount would be necessary to satisfy claims.
BP shares have rebounded 60 percent since the middle of 2010.
“Shell could be interested, and that would boost the upside to the shares,” said Gudmund Halle Isfeldt, an analyst at DnB NOR ASA in Oslo, Norway.
“Most importantly, BP has done a lot to mitigate all the bad things that happened last year. They’re on more solid footing now.”
Of course, BP faces more uncertainty over other spill-connected fines it remains liable for. For this reason, some analysts are discounting the chances of Shell seeking to takeover the company.