BP CEO Dudley says committed to Gulf after spill

CHICAGO Fri Jan 13, 2012 2:50pm EST

Chief Executive Officer of British oil giant BP Robert Dudley speaks during the 20th World Petroleum Congress in Doha December 6, 2011. REUTERS/Mohammed Dabbous

Chief Executive Officer of British oil giant BP Robert Dudley speaks during the 20th World Petroleum Congress in Doha December 6, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Mohammed Dabbous

CHICAGO (Reuters) - BP (BP.L) learned expensive lessons from the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and has no intention of turning away from the region, the oil giant's CEO, Robert Dudley, said on Friday.

The Chicago native said the cleanup from the April 2010 disaster was down to its "final few miles" and the company has committed up to $1 billion to environmental restoration projects. It has disbursed roughly $8 billion of a $20 billion compensation fund.

Dudley would not specifically address the slew of lawsuits and federal citations against BP and other companies involved in the explosion and spill from the Deepwater Horizon rig, which killed 11 workers and spewed more than 4 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

But he said the company had learned valuable, if expensive, lessons.

"Every crisis is different, virtually every one. In this case, what we have done is learned and are putting in place new lessons around safety," Dudley said in answer to a question from the audience, after addressing a business group.

One of those lessons was how fast information flows, and how important it is to keep the public informed. That includes trying to restore trust in BP and fulfilling commitments it has made in the Gulf region, he said.

"We remain and have been continuously committed to what we are doing," Dudley said. "To say that we are turning away from that, is not true."

(Reporting By Andrew Stern; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)