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"NBC Nightly News" anchor and managing editor Brian Williams spoke with BP's Bob Dudley, in his first evening newscast interview. Recently appointed to oversee the oil spill and clean up efforts in the Gulf, Dudley discussed BP’s goal to identify what went wrong, plans for future drilling in Alaska, and honoring local claims by individuals affected in the oil spill. The interview aired this evening on "NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams."

Below is a transcript from tonight's interview, mandatory credit: "NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams."

BRIAN WILLIAMS: BP has turned to a new man to run the cleanup operation in the gulf. Managing director Bob Dudley spent time there growing up in Mississippi. He's with us from Washington, where he met with the interior secretary today, the head of the EPA.

Mr. Dudley, we're duty bound to point out two things as we get under way here. This nation swallows about, give or take, 19 million barrels of oil and petroleum products every day. We understand that it has to come from somewhere. And second, this is the first time in this 66 days of this disaster that the BP boss has appeared live on this broadcast, which is viewed by the largest single daily news audience in the country. So the question is this: Can we agree that this happened because BP knows how to get oil a mile down, but not how to stop it? And given that, should you be allowed to drill for it that deep?

Mr. BOB DUDLEY (BP Managing Director): Good evening, Brian. This is a disaster that—a very, very low probability of happening to any oil company. It has happened. We need to pull it apart piece by piece by piece, understand what happened, learn from it, disseminate that knowledge around the world and throughout the industry so it never, ever, ever happens again. This is a terrible tragedy. It's a terrible tragedy on people. I saw the pictures of the wildlife in the gulf. This is terrible, and the company's going to put its full might behind the-- Providing every resource it can to stop it, clean it up and restore the gulf.

WILLIAMS: What did the feds want to know from you today, and what did you tell them?

DUDLEY: We had a review today of the latest update on the containment that is back on stream. He have about $25,000 contained. We talked about the kinds of things that the oil and the gas industry needs to do in the future to ensure this never, ever happens again. We spoke with administrator Jackson about the long-term impacts of dispersants and the  concerns, and making sure that we learn from this event for the future, for everybody in the future; and with Carol Browner, we went over pretty much the full spectrum of issues that we're working on in the gulf.


DUDLEY: We want to keep everybody informed.

WILLIAMS: Is there anything else you need to warn us about? Anything else that could go wrong?

DUDLEY: Well, we're working in this 5,000 feet below the seabed. We've got untold, uncharted territory that we've been through to get to this point in it. We've got relief wells that are getting close to being down. We should be able to shut this off by August, in August. You never know. I have a concern about storms in the gulf. We're going to have to react. We've got a lot of planning in place. Those are things that I think are unknown variables at this point, but it isn't because of lack of planning and people and manpower by the Coast Guard and by BP working together out of the unified command center in New Orleans.

WILLIAMS: If this is what happens again, knowing how to get the oil a mile down but not to stop it, do you now look at the next Alaska, the Prudhoe Bay project, in a new light? For viewers who haven't followed it, that will go two miles down and then six to eight miles across into a reservoir of oil. And to get off of regulations on offshore drilling, BP has built an island, attached it to land so it's technically onshore. Do you now step back and say, `Well, should we be doing this?'

DUDLEY: Well, in Alaska, that is how you drill mainly offshore because of the ice. So that's not an unusual development plan. But this kind of drilling goes on all over the world, and so we need to learn what's happened on this well in the gulf. There're unknown things about it. We need to understand what equipment failed, what decisions might've been, what could be

done differently, and do a real forensic investigation of it. I think this is going to change the industry for--in--for good around the world, and we want to be part of understanding what happened and making sure everyone knows so that it doesn't happen again.

WILLIAMS: I have to ask a question on behalf of the shrimpers and the folks who work the water, many of whom we've come to know well on our many visits down there.

DUDLEY: Mm-hmm.

WILLIAMS: Do you have any fundamental problem--because they didn't do anything wrong here, of course--in making them whole? You've got families threatening to leave the area, move. They just can't make it. They can't survive, some of them waiting for payments from BP.

DUDLEY: Mm. Well, this is a terrible tragedy. We've been moving as fast as we can. We have 33 claims offices across the gulf. As of yesterday we had written checks for 123 million. We've had to revise how we do businesses. We're now going to start paying one to two months out in time to make sure that the business can be sustained. We want to move as fast as we can. We want to transition with Ken Feinberg, who's the independent claims person. He's giving us a lot of input and advice. We're not slowing down, and if we're going to err, we're going to err on the side of paying a claim and squaring it up later, if that's an issue.

WILLIAMS: Whole lot of people down in the gulf anxious to talk to you now that you're on the job. Thank you very much for coming on our broadcast. We hope it's the first of many conversations. Bob Dudley, the new boss at BP, on Capitol Hill tonight.

DUDLEY: Thank you, Brian.

WILLIAMS: Mr. Dudley, thank you.

DUDLEY: Great. Appreciate it.


Bob Epstein is the executive producer of "NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams." Aurelia Grayson is the senior broadcast producer. For more news and information about "Nightly News," go to .