TONY Hayward, the former BP chief executive who stepped down in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, is reportedly in talks to launch a global oil company.
Mr Hayward was approa-ched by Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund who offered to bankroll him to the tune of several billion dollars to enable him to build a global oil and gas group, according to a Sunday newspaper.
The emirate’s sovereign wealth fund is estimated to have a value of up to £496billion and has a range of investments including stakes in Ferrari, ports, aerospace and renewable energy firms.
The proposal is understood to be at an early stage of development and is one of several being considered by Mr Hayward, who is planning to build a portfolio of roles in global businesses.
He was last month invited to join the board of Glencore, the world’s largest commodities trader which is preparing a £30billion float this year.
Mr Hayward’s relationship with Abu Dhabi’s crown prince Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan al Nayhan is believed to be strong.
At the height of the crisis, Mr Hayward flew to Abu Dhabi to discuss the possibility of the emirate taking a stake in BP, although no deal materialised.
Mr Hayward was forced to step down from BP four months ago following outrage about the oil spill.
The explosion on the rig on April 20 killed 11 people and dumped millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
The incident also had a disastrous effect on BP’s fortunes, as the company made a loss for the first time in 18 years and its shares nearly halved in value.
BP posted a loss of £3.1billion in the year to December 31, compared with profits of £8.7billion in 2009.
BP upped its estimate of the cost of the disaster to £25.5billion after it took an additional £647.8million hit in the fourth quarter.
Mr Hayward famously made a number of gaffes after the explosion, which helped sully BP’s US reputation. He antagonised Americans when he said: “There’s no one who wants this over more than I do. I would like my life back.”
The news that Mr Hayward is considering setting up another oil company comes as turmoil in Egypt leads to fears that oil prices will hit fresh highs.