LONDON - BP's oil spill cap, designed to stop a huge leak from a ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico, is currently catching around 10,000 barrels a day, its chief executive Tony Hayward told the BBC Sunday.
"As we speak, the containment cap is producing around 10,000 barrels of oil a day to the surface," Hayward said, adding that this was "probably the vast majority".
He added that another system to try and contain the oil would be put in place over the next week and should be in place by next weekend.
An estimated 20 million gallons of crude has poured into the Gulf since the Deepwater Horizon sank on April 22, 50 miles (80 kilometres) off the southern US state of Louisiana.
The spill is the worst environmental disaster in US history.
US authorities said Saturday that BP had captured 6,000 barrels in 24 hours. Estimates suggest up to 19,000 barrels a day could be spewing from the leaking well.
Hayward described what had happened as "perhaps a hundred thousand to one in a million occurrence" and gave an "absolute commitment" to return the Gulf coastline to how it was before the disaster.
On the controversial issue of whether the firm would pay a dividend to investors this year, he said BP was "going to take care of all of our stakeholders" but stressed the decision would be taken by the board next month.
"BP is a very strong company. Its operations today are running extremely well, it's generating a lot of cash flow, it has a very strong balance sheet," he said.
"We are doing everything we can to do the right thing. We are going to stop the leak, we're going to clean up the oil, we're going to remediate any environmental damage and we're going to return the Gulf coast to the position it was in prior to this event."
Hayward added that he himself had the "absolute intention of seeing this through to the end", despite criticisms of his handling of the affair.