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A top executive at the company that owns a pipeline that leaked more than 100,000 gallons of crude oil along the Southern California coast apologized Saturday for the spill but defended the company's track record.

"We're pleased with our safety record," Plains All American CEO Greg Armstrong told NBC News' Hallie Jackson in his first one-on-one interview since the spill.

Armstrong said that pipelines are the safest ways to move oil — and "99.999 percent" of the billion barrels of oil that his company delivers each year have been transported safely. He said the company always tries to do better, though.

"We’re striving for zero incidents, so while we're way up to the third or fourth decimal point before we ever have an incident, when it happens, it’s obviously not good, we’re not happy with it," he said.

The cause of the spill still isn't known. Christopher Hoidal, the director of pipeline safety for the Department of Transportation, said Friday that an inspection done in early May might reveal the problem that caused the spill and determine other "anomalies" in the pipe.

More than 50 anomalies were found in the pipeline during two previous inspections in 2007 and 2012, according to the DOT.

Meanwhile, a sea lion that became covered with petroleum from the spill has died after being taken to SeaWorld in San Diego to be cleaned and treated, officials said Saturday.


— Elisha Fieldstadt

Reuters contributed to this report.