BP chief grilled by US lawmakers over oil spill

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BP chief grilled by US lawmakers over oil spill

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BP’s chief executive has been berated by US lawmakers at a congressional hearing into the Gulf oil spill. Tony Hayward was accused of evasion and ducking responsibility.

His opening statement was briefly interrupted by a protester who called for the BP boss to be charged with a crime. She was hustled out, but she made her point.

The BP chief was then taken to task over safety and operational standards.

“BP has cut corner after corner, to save a million dollars here, a few hours or days there, and now the whole Gulf Coast is paying the price,” said lawmaker Henry Waxman from California.

Tony Hayward was backed by one Republican from Texas who thought BP had been treated unfairly. It was a view not widely shared. The chief executive was there to eat humble pie.

“I give my pledge as the leader of BP that we will not rest until we make this right,” said Tony Hayward. “We are a strong company and no resource available to this company will be spared. We and the entire industry will learn from this terrible event and emerge from it stronger, smarter and safer.”

BP has been accused of ignoring warnings over drilling methods. The chief executive said he was not personally involved in the decision making.

Investors have welcomed the deal agreed with the White House to set up a 16 billion euro fund for compensation claims.

But the company also faces a criminal investigation and lawsuits.