BP still important for US despite oil spill: chairman

26th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

BP's chairman insisted Tuesday the British energy group remained an "important company for the US" despite the devastating Gulf of Mexico oil spill, in comments to a newspaper.

"The US is a big and important market for BP, and BP is also a big and important company for the US, with its contribution to drilling and oil and gas production," Carl-Henric Svanberg told the Financial Times.

"So the position goes both ways."

He accepted the company's reputation had been damaged by the oil spill, as BP Tuesday prepared its latest effort to stop the leak by smothering a ruptured pipeline with heavy drilling fluid and cement.

The oil spill was caused by the sinking of the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig on April 22 in the Gulf of Mexico, two days after an explosion that killed 11 workers.

"This is not the first time something has gone wrong in this industry, but the industry has moved on," said Svanberg.

"Of course our reputation will be tarnished, but let's wait and see how we do with plugging the well and cleaning up the spill."

The chairman also defended BP chief executive, Tony Hayward, saying he was doing a "great job" despite fierce criticism in the United States.

"This is a very difficult issue to deal with, a leak in 5,000 feet (1,500 metres) of water," he said. "Everything that can be done is being done."

Svanberg, a Swede who has been the company's chairman since January, further said BP had the necessary tools to tackle the oil spill and would get the job done.

"I am positive we have all the resources needed to tackle it, working along with competitor companies, scientific experts and others, and I cannot see that any other form of organisation would stand a better chance.

"We think we have what is needed to do it, and we will see it through."

© 2010 AFP

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