LONDON - BP chief executive Bob Dudley said in an interview published Sunday that the company is ready for a lengthy court battle over the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Dudley, who took control of BP in October 2010 after former chief executive Tony Hayward resigned amid criticism over the way he had handled the oil spill, told the Sunday Telegraph newspaper that BP can continue to function even if the court case that begins in New Orleans on Monday continues for years.
"We have to remember we are a business that invests in decade-long cycles," he said in an interview published Sunday. "For the vast majority of people now at BP, the company is back on its feet and it is starting to move forward," he said.
BP has set aside $40 billion to deal with fines and associated costs of the April 20, 2010, blowout of BP's deepwater Macondo well which killed 11 workers and injured 17. The burning drilling rig Deepwater Horizon toppled and sank to the Gulf floor, where it sits today.
It took engineers 85 days to permanently cap the well. By then, more than 200 million gallons of oil leaked from the well and had covered much of the northern half of the Gulf of Mexico — endangering fisheries, killing marine life and shutting down offshore oil drilling operations.
President Barack Obama called the BP spill "the worst environmental disaster the nation has ever faced."
Dudley said BP had improved safety standards on its rigs, five of which are working again in the Gulf of Mexico, and that the company was still committed to deepwater drilling.
"We had a choice whether or not to back away from the offshore industry and the deep water industry but we have a lot of great strengths in this area and so, rather than move away, we have gone in with even more commitment, more time and more people, more expertise," he said.