The CEO of BP, Tony Hayward, has started his testimony to the US Senate Energy and Commerce Sub-Committee.
His opening prepared address began with disruptions from a protester, Diane Wilson, who had oil all over her face and hands and ended when proceedings were halted for a time for a vote. Ms Wilson claimed she had chains with her and seemed intent on conducting a citizen’s arrest until four or five security guards restrained her and led her away.
Once proceedings were underway, in the few minutes Tony Hayward spoke he outlined his concerns and repeated his pledge to ‘make it right’, saying that actions and not mere words would be the only thing that would gain peoples' confidence.
He called ht whole incident ‘a tragedy’ that had caused a ‘profound impact on your lives’ that he deeply regretted as well as the adverse effect on the environment. He also acknowledged the peoples’ ‘concerns, frustrations and anger’.
He confirmed that BP had set up a $20 billion fund for the clean-up and environmental mitigation. He said he hoped that this proved BP’s intent and that the American people could be confident that its word to remedy the situation was ‘good’. He then reiterated the promise to make things right.
He said he understood that people will want to know what has been done, what is being done and what will be done to deal with this ‘terrible accident’.
He said that the two relief wells being drilled would be ready by August and that in the meantime they would step up their capture of leaking oil from the current 20,000 barrels a day to 40,000 by the end of June and 80,000 by the end of July.
Saying that $95 million in claims had already been paid they would pay all legitimate claims and be vigilant in the clean up.
He said that we all need to know what went wrong which was why he had ordered a non-privileged investigation within 24 hours of the accident.
Pledging again that BP ‘will not rest until this is made right’ he ended by saying he wanted to see the industry come out of this stranger, smarter and safer.
The session was then suspended for 20 minutes while a vote took place.