TODAY   |  May 03, 2010

BP braces for months of oil cleanup

Tony Hayward, CEO of oil giant BP, defends his company, saying that it has been planning for the “worst,” which could be two to three months of cleanup.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> holds bp accountable for the spill. does the buck stop at your desk?

>> we weren't -- it wasn't our accident, but we are absolutely responsible for the oil, for cleaning it up and that's what we intend to do.

>> how can it not be your accident, sir?

>> we are working very hard to -- the drilling rig was a translation drilling rig . it was their rig and their equipment that failed, run by their people with their processes. but our responsibility is the oil and the responsibility is ours to clean it up. and that's what we're doing. we have a massive operation ongoing here on three fronts. in the subsea, on the surface and, if necessary, on the shore.

>> what is the worst case scenario ?

>> subsea, we're -- the worst case scenario is that we would need to contain this for two to three months while a relief well is drilled. we are working on two other options that would bring the leak to closure earlier. the first is operate working on the blow-out preventer, big valve at the top that for some reason has failed. we have eight submersible robots working on that. that is like conducting heart surgery 5,000 feet beneath the sea. the second intervention is to construct a collection device. it's like the hood of your oven that would sit over the leak. it would then be channeled to the surface where we could deal with it . that is ongoing. that will be in the field in seven to eight days time.

>> mr. hayward, let me ask you. a week ago, you said you were confident that this spill could be contained and at that point, bp estimated about 5,000 barrels of oil were spilling into the gulf. now the obama administration is worried that number could reach 100,000 barrels a day. why was your company so slow in recognizing the scope of the problem or do you think it was?

>> i don't think we were. we have been planning for the worst ever since this thing came about. we have an enormous operation deployed on the surface to contain it. 100 ships, 20 major skimmers. we're dispersing -- deploying dispersement through the use of hercules c-130 planes and for the first time ever in the industry, we are applying dispersement at the seabed, which appears to be having a serious impact in limiting the oil that gets to the surface. so, we have an enormous operation ongoing.

>> you say you were planning for the worst, but in a plan you filed with the government , american government , u.s. government last year, you said it was unlikely that something like this would ever happen.

>> well, that is, indeed, true, meredith . what has failed here is the ultimate safety device on a drilling rig . there are many barriers of protection that you have to go through before you get to this. it isn't designed to not fail. it is unprecedented in our industry for this sort of failure.

>> bp ceo tony hayward , thank you. good luck with your efforts. so many people are counting on them.

>> thank you.

>>> brian williams has made his