SOMEWHAT excruciatingly, BP boss Tony Hayward decided to downplay the volume of oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico over the weekend. His tactic has not been universally applauded as the oil giant struggles to maintain a clean reputation.
Hayward argued that the “amount of volume of oil leaking into the Gulf, is tiny in relation to the total water volume” of the sea itself.
He also likened the disaster to the aborted Apollo 13 mission and the Air France crash, defending the oil industry’s intentions to continue offshore drilling despite political backlash over the excavation method.
“Apollo 13 did not stop the space race, neither did the Air France [crash] stop the world airline industry. It’s the same for the oil industry,” said Hayward last week when he insisted that deepwater drilling would continue off the US coast.
His comments come despite political protests against offshore drilling, with a number of US officials, including President Barack Obama and California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, clearly taking a stance against it.
At the risk of losing his job, Hayward admitted the company had not been prepared to confront a subsea leak and with hindsight, said BP should have done more in the past.
Hayward’s flip-flopping over the issues comes as the group comes under government scrutiny over responsibility for the spill, which is currently spewing roughly 210,000 gallons of oil into the water a day.
US secretary of the interior Ken Salazar and Janet Napolitano, secretary of Homeland Security, called on Hayward to provide a clear public clarification on BP’s intensions to commit to public redress.