"I spoke clumsily this afternoon and for that I am very sorry," said Svanberg. He expressed the remark after a White House meeting with US President Barack Obama. His 'small people' remark had widespread ridicule and condemnation.
"What I was trying to say -- that BP understands how deeply this affects the lives of people who live along the Gulf and depend on it for their livelihood -- will best be conveyed not by any words but by the work we do to put things right for the families and businesses who've been hurt," he said.
Svanberg also tried to convey his concern for the people who got affected by the disaster.
"I hear comments sometimes that large oil companies are greedy companies who don't care. But that is not the case in BP. We care about the small people," Svanberg told the media.