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Page last updated at 07:45 GMT, Thursday, 6 May 2010 08:45 UK

BP 'will bounce back' after US oil spill

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BP's chief executive has rejected accusations that the company was slow in responding to the massive oil spill coming from a sunken offshore rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

Tony Hayward, told Today presenter Justin Webb that his company was fighting three battles: beneath the sea, on the sea and along the shore.

Admitting that BP clearly had "a big challenge on our hands", Mr Hayward said that relations between the firm and US federal authorities were "extraordinarily good" and that he was "absolutely confident BP will bounce back".

And he added there were important questions to be answered about what went wrong following the failure of a piece of equipment, a Blow-Out Preventor.

"That is a piece of equipment owned and operated by Transocean, maintained by Transocean, they are absolutely accountable for its safety and its reliability and they report to the regulatory authority for its safety," he said.

"So, what we're doing is responding to a tragic accident, and as I said we'll be judged by our response. The scale of it, the intensity, the quality of it, and ultimately of course the effectiveness of it."

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