One-On-One With BP CEO Tony Hayward

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," May 6, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Now to the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico where news is breaking by the minute. At this hour crews are franticly working to stop the disastrous BP oil spill. Fox's Trace Gallagher talked one-on-one with British Petroleum's CEO Tony Hayward.


TRACE GALLAGHER, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: We've all pinned our hopes on this containment about to be set down. My understanding now is you are not confident in this mechanisms or structures' ability.

TONY HAYWARD, BP CEO: We've always been clear. This containment is one of four options that we are pursuing. The first one is to continue to work out on the blowout. We have not been successful completely in working that. We've done some things to it but it hasn't stopped the flow.

The second option is the containment. It has been proven effective in 300 to 400 feet of water. It has never proven effective in 5,000. So this is an enormous technology step. We don't quite know how it is going to work, but we've engineered it and built it in two weeks.

We are going to put it on the sea bed today, it's going down. Then we prop it up. The issues have to do with pressure and gas forming in the pipe as the oil comes up. We have to be cautious in our expectations.

GALLAGHER: The criticism that BP has gotten over the past couple of weeks, you said when you took this job three years ago were you going to focus on safety like a laser. Some are saying that BP didn't react fast enough and didn't have a vast enough safety plan in effect. Is the criticism fair?

HAYWARD: I think I've said all along we are going to be judged by the response to this ultimately, the scale of response, the quality of the response, the intensity of the response, and ultimately the success of the response. That's how we'll be judged. As far as safety, it is the only thing I've talked about since I've been in this job.

GALLAGHER: Were you well enough prepared for this?

HAYWARD: We had a response plan that was agreed with the state regulators, the federal regulators, approved by all of the necessary agencies, which described an incident of this severity. So, what you saying is the implementation of that plan.

GALLAGHER: Some are saying that BP underestimated the danger and volatility of this particular rig.

HAYWARD: I think there is no evidence to suggest that, frankly. This was a well that wasn't particularly deep nor in particularly deep water. It was drilled to 18,000 feet. Last year the same rig drilled to 35,000 feet.

So this is more analogous to a 747 falling out of the sky over the mid-Atlantic. It is a catastrophic accident and we need understand what it is.

GALLAGHER: As the lead are of this company, were you happy with the response of BP?

HAYWARD: I think we have thrown everything at this from day one. We activated our response on the first day. Within 12 hours we were ramping this up. All through we have tried to be ahead of it, we've tried to be forward leaning. We've tried to stay ahead of it.

And with some success so far in that we've contained it to a very large extent. But we haven't of course succeeded in eliminating the leak. And until we've succeed in eliminating the leak no one can have any certainty.

GALLAGHER: Your stock price has been falling. Your reputation has taken a beating in recent weeks. How repairable are both?

HAYWARD: It is all about how we respond. If we demonstrate we are responding in the right way at the federal level, at the state and government level, at the local level, in scale, quality, and success, then I think all of those can be repaired.

GALLAGHER: The containment dome is on it sea bed right now. As a geologist, as someone who knows, on a scale of one to 10, one it doesn't work, 10 it does work.

HAYWARD: I'm not prepared to say. It has never been done. It is like asking someone to assess something for which there is no track record at all. So if it works it will be great. If it partly works it will help. And we have other things if we can't make it work.


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