BP agrees to pay for oil spill clean-up

British energy giant BP today acknowledged responsibility for the clean-up from a ruptured oil well in the Gulf of Mexico that could continue spewing crude for at least another week.

British energy giant BP today acknowledged responsibility for the clean-up from a ruptured oil well in the Gulf of Mexico that could continue spewing crude for at least another week.

The company said it would pay compensation for legitimate claims for property damage, personal injury and commercial losses.

But chief executive Tony Hayward stressed that the company was not to blame for the Deepwater Horizon spill which happened 41 miles offshore of Louisiana and Mississippi.

He told the BBC: "In terms of the responsibility, I want to be very clear about this, this was not our accident but it is our responsibility to deal with the leak and to clean up the oil.

"We take that very seriously and that is what we are going to do.

"At the moment what we are focusing on is eliminating the leak, containing the oil on the surface, and if necessary, defending the shoreline."

He said the equipment that failed on the rig and led to the spill belonged to owner Transocean, not BP, which operated the rig.

Guy Cantwell, a Transocean spokesman, said: "We will await all the facts before drawing conclusions and we will not speculate."

Yesterday President Barack Obama visited Louisiana to inspect the efforts to combat the leak.

He said: "BP is responsible for this leak. BP will be paying the bill."

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