BP chief's Gulf of Mexico gaffes

26th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

BP chief executive Tony Hayward, who is widely reported to be on the verge of quitting over the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, has made many comments about the spill that have been criticised:

May 3 -- Not BP's accident

"This is not our accident, but it's our responsibility to deal with it, to arrest the leak, to deal with the oil on the surface, to ensure that there is no or minimal environmental damage."

-- Hayward talking to CBS television

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said later the same day: "We will keep our... boot on the throat of BP to ensure that they're doing all that is necessary while we do all that is humanly possible to deal with this incident."

May 14 -- The 'Tiny' amount of oil

"The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume."

Asked if he felt his job was under threat, he replied: "I don't at the moment. That of course may change. I will be judged by the nature of the response."

-- Hayward comments in interview with British newspaper The Guardian

May 18 -- The 'Modest' disaster

"I think the environmental impact of this disaster is likely to have been very, very modest.

"It is impossible to say and we will mount, as part of the aftermath, a very detailed environmental assessment. But everything we can see at the moment suggests that the overall environmental impact will be very, very modest."

-- Hayward speaking to Sky News television

May 30 - Hayward wants his 'life' back

"We're sorry for the massive disruption it's caused their lives. There's no one who wants this over more than I do. I would like my life back."

-- Hayward interview with NBC television.

He later described it as a "hurtful and thoughtless" comment in a public apology to families of the 11 men who died on the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded setting off the massive oil leak.

June 19 - The yacht race

Hayward takes part in a yacht race around the Isle of Wight off southern England on a boat which he owns. Photographs of Hayward on the yacht appear around the world.

US President Barack Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel says the action was "part of a long line of PR gaffes and mistakes."

"I think we can all conclude that Tony Hayward is not going to have a second career in PR consulting."

© 2010 AFP

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