Svanberg says sorry, blaming clumsy words

BP’S CHAIRMAN Carl-Henric Svanberg officially apologised yesterday for comments he made after Wednesday’s meeting at the White House.

Svanberg, after answering a question from the press, said that the embattled oil major “cared about the small people” of the Gulf of Mexico whose lives have been impacted by the oil spill.

“I hear comments sometimes that large oil companies are greedy companies, or don’t care, but that is not the case with BP. We care about the small people,” said Svanberg in his first appearance before the press since the 20 April Deepwater Horizon explosion.

The chairman, who has received stark criticism for his failure to make more of a public appearance during the Gulf chaos, said he spoke clumsily and that he was very sorry.

He said: “What I was trying to say -- that BP understands how deeply this affects the lives of people who live along the Gulf and depend on it for their livelihood -- will best be conveyed not by any words but by the work we do to put things right for the families and businesses who’ve been hurt. Like President Obama, I believe we made some good progress toward that goal today.”

A spokesperson for BP said on Wednesday that Svanberg meant to refer to small businesses in the Gulf.

Despite the gaffe, BP shares rose yesterday gaining 6.7 per cent to close at 359.7p.