BP eyes new option for plugging well

BP Plc defended its embattled chief executive on Wednesday and denied he would soon leave as the company prepared to launch within days a new approach to ending the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

CEO Tony Hayward, criticized for a series of public relations gaffes and failed efforts to end the disaster, has the full support of the company’s board and will remain in his job, a BP spokesman said. The spokesman dismissed a Times of London report that Hayward would step down within 10 weeks.

In response to the spill, big oil companies including Exxon Mobil Corp and Royal Dutch Shell said they would spend $1 billion to develop a new spill containment system for the Gulf of Mexico.

It will aim for water depths up to 10,000 feet and have an initial capacity to contain 100,000 barrels (4.2 million gallons/15.9 million liters) of oil per day. The failed BP well is a mile below the ocean surface.

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