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BP chief executive Tony Hayward claims that the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is relatively 'tiny' but admits that his job is at risk over the incident blamed on his company.
Hayward told Friday's Guardian newspaper that the leaked oil and the estimated 400,000 gallons of dispersant that BP had pumped into the sea to try to tackle the slick should be put in context.
"The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume," Hayward said.
Asked if he felt his job was under threat, he replied: "I don't at the moment. That of course may change. I will be judged by the nature of the response."
Hayward insisted that deep-water drilling would continue in the United States despite angry responses to the incident from environmentalists and politicians.
"Apollo 13 (the unsuccessful third mission to the moon in 1970) did not stop the space race," he told The Guardian.
"Neither did the Air France plane last year coming out of Brazil (which mysteriously crashed) stop the world airline industry flying people around the world. It's the same for the oil industry."
Hayward said it was "unwise" to speculate about the direct causes of the accident before investigations had been completed. "There is a lot of speculation, red herrings and hearsay."