BP boss says group will not quit US over oil disaster

25th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

BP will not quit the United States over the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster that had "threatened the very existence" of the energy giant, its new chief executive Bob Dudley said here on Monday.

"I can promise you that I did not become chief executive of BP in order to walk away from the US. BP will not be quitting America," Dudley told a conference of British business leaders in central London.

"There is so much at stake, both for BP and the United States. The US has major energy needs. BP is the largest producer of oil and gas in the country, and a vital contributor to fulfilling them."

Nearly five million barrels of oil gushed into the sea after an April 20 blast aboard the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon oil rig. The spill destroyed hundreds of miles of fragile coastlines and caused BP's shares to collapse.

"This is a story of the damage that can be wrought by a single accident in one segment of a giant company's operations," he told delegates at the annual conference of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

"From a terrible accident and environmental spill grew a corporate crisis that threatened the very existence of our company -- a major loss of value and loss of trust."

And he stressed that BP's internal investigation, which was published last month, blamed a combination of equipment and system failures.

"Our internal investigation ... found that no single factor caused the tragedy, and that the well design itself, despite what you have heard, does not appear to have contributed to the accident. This has been verified by recent retrieval of equipment.

"Rather, a sequence of interlinked failures involving a number of companies led to the explosion and fire. It was a combination of equipment and system failures."

Dudley, who is a US national, began his job on October 1 after his gaffe-prone predecessor Tony Hayward was forced out over his widely-criticised handling of the oil spill disaster.

© 2010 AFP

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