BP's Hayward Offers Few Answers to Congress

BP CEO Tony Hayward
BP CEO Tony Hayward

Looking for answers from BP CEO Tony Hayward? His opening statement to Congress on Thursday contained very few.

Hayward seemed to place the most of the blame on the "blowout preventer" technology, which was designed to seal the well in the case of an explosion but obviously didn't work. "I understand people want a simple answer about why this happened and who is to blame," Hayward said. "The truth, however, is that this is a complex accident, caused by an unprecedented combination of failures."

The oil giant's CEO is appearing before a particularly hostile House Energy and Commerce Committee. In Hayward's prepared statement, he said the explosion and fire aboard the Deepwater Horizon and the resulting oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico should never have happened, and he again apologized for the tragedy. Hayward quickly acknowledged the 11 rig workers who lost their lives in the disaster and then detailed everything BP (BP) has done since the April 20 disaster.

"I hear the concerns, fears, frustrations – and anger – being voiced across the country," Hayward said. "I understand it, and I know that these sentiments will continue until the leak is stopped, and until we prove through our actions that we will do the right thing."

"We Will Do the Right Thing"

Hayward's statement outlines BP's first priority as stopping the flow of oil and securing the well. He updated the progress BP has made in collecting the oil spewing from the well -- 15,000 barrels per day are now being siphoned from the containment cap on the well, and over 400,000 barrels of oily water mixture has been collected by skimming vessels. BP has spent $1.5 billion on cleanup costs and has paid out over $90 million so far on the more than 56,000 disaster claims that have been submitted.

"While we can't undo these tragic events, I give you my word that we will do the right thing," Hayward said. "We will not rest until the well is under control, and we will meet all our obligations to clean up the spill and address its environmental and economic impacts."

Originally published