Oil giant BP says it is “absolutely responsible” for cleaning up the huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, amid growing pressure from the US Government.
An estimated 1.6million gallons of oil is estimated to have spilled since the BP-operated Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and sank, creating a slick more than 130 miles long and 70 miles wide.
The disaster has wiped more than £15billion off the firm’s market value, according to latest estimates.
And last night, as the company moved to ease growing anger over the environmental damage, a leading industry figure said it was too soon to say whether other British firms would be affected.
Late on Sunday, US President Barack Obama vowed that BP will pay for the “massive” damage caused by the oil slick.
“BP is responsible for this leak. BP will be paying the bill,” he said.
The widening slick is meanwhile heading towards delicate wetlands and wildlife along the southern coastline.
Responding to the statement yesterday, BP chief executive Tony Hayward said the firm was not to blame for the accident.
He said the equipment that failed belonged to drilling firm Transocean.
However, Mr Howard, who started his career as a rig geologist in Aberdeen, said the company would deal with the clean-up.
He said: “In terms of the responsibility, I want to be clear, this was not our accident but it is our responsibility to deal with the leak and clean up the oil.”
Mr Hayward said BP was making multiple efforts to stop the leak. The company is drilling a new well to relieve the pressure, and a vessel is being sent to the site to suck up the oil.
Meanwhile, Samir Brikho, chief executive of British international engineering and project-management company AMEC, said it was “too early” to say if their operations would be hit.
He said: “This spill is a tragedy for a lot of people and the environment.”
North America is responsible for about half of the British group’s worldwide workforce of more than 21,000. BP’s shares continued to fall yesterday, after previous trading wiped billions of pounds from its market value.
Last night the AA said the disaster could drive up petrol prices in the UK if the market uncertainty continues.
The blast, on April 20, which caused the spill also claimed the lives of 11 workers.