Incoming BP CEO Bob Dudley sought to reassure jittery Gulf of Mexico residents Friday that the massive British corporation will not abandon them once the ruptured well responsible for the oil disaster has been permanently sealed.
Dudley, currently the company's managing director, stressed during a visit to Mississippi that BP has made a "long-term commitment" to the region. "We'll be here for years," he said.
The spill has been a "catastrophe" and a "real wake-up call for change," he told reporters. We have to "treat it as an opportunity to change for the better."
Shortly before Dudley made his remarks, BP announced that it is setting up a $100 million charitable fund to support unemployed oil rig workers experiencing economic hardship due to the deepwater drilling moratorium imposed by the Obama administration.
The establishment of the Rig Worker Assistance Fund "fulfills the commitment" BP made on June 16 to provide $100 million in assistance "as a gesture of good will for the people of the Gulf region," according to a company statement.
The company also announced that James Lee Witt, director of Federal Emergency Management Agency during the Clinton administration, will be advising Dudley on BP's disaster response efforts.