"There are a number of companies that are going to be flush with cash and I believe they're going to reinvest in capital equipment," he said. "I think they'll be expansions of offices and you're see companies that have not had the opportunity to participate in the spill becoming ripe for acquisition by the companies that have been involved. We are already looking at some opportunities for acquisitions."
Another firm benefiting from the disaster is Illinois-based Nalco, which makes Corexita, an EPA-approved dispersant being used to clean up the spill. Corexita breaks oil into particles that sink rather than wash up on shore and kill marine life. Under water, the particles are further dispersed naturally. BP has used roughly 1.8 million gallons of the product.
Despite criticism for Corexita's negative effect on marine life at the bottom of the ocean, Nalco stands to sell up to $85 million of the product for the clean-up effort, compared with typical annual sales of $2 million. This is a drop in the bucket considering the company's $4 billion in annual revenue, according to spokesman Charlie Pajor.
Still, Knapp said there are differences between the lightly- populated scene of the Alaska disaster and the tourism- and fishing-dependent Gulf Coast region.
"It seems like the Louisiana and Alabama and Mississippi coasts have more people who have been disrupted at least for a time from what they would normally be doing," he said. "All the money flowing into Alaska outweighed the money not flowing in from fishing. I don't know that's the case in the Gulf."