BP CEO Admits Mistakes, Defends Company


Image: World Economic Forum/Flickr

BP CEO Tony Hayward has admitted that BP made mistakes early on in dealing with the Gulf Coast oil spill. But he defended BP’s overall response to the crisis. The Guardian has more:

…in a bullish interview with the Guardian at BP’s crisis centre in Houston, Hayward promised that BP would “fix” the disaster, which is on course to eclipse the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill as the worst US oil spill in history. Hayward said that BP was “increasingly confident” that progress was being made in trying to find ways to seal the faulty blow-out preventer, which failed to shut down the well, and stem the flow of oil.

“We will fix it. I guarantee it. The only question is we do not know when.”

Hayward said it was “unwise” to speculate about the direct causes of the accident before investigations had been completed. “There is a lot of speculation, red herrings and hearsay.” 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. Investors have so far been very supportive.”

(Hayward) admitted that BP had made mistakes in its early response to the crisis. BP initially refused to compensate fishermen who were unable to produce written proof of their normal earnings even though most keep no such record. He also said BP had made a mistake when fishermen signing up to help with the relief effort were required to sign agreements limiting their receipt of any future damages from BP. “It was a bit bumpy to get it going. We made a few little mistakes early on.”

BP’s Alaska and Texas City disasters set the stage for the previous CEO, John Browne, to be shown the door. I doubt Hayward’s job is as safe as he claims.

BP has spend $450 million on the oil spill so far, according to the Wall Street Journal–and it still hasn’t figured out a workable solution. Let’s hope the company works out its kinks quickly.