"We will be good citizens and will re-establish our former trust, but it'll take a long time and be a difficult job," he told the newspaper.
The so-called Deepwater Horizon oil spill has caused BP's stocks to tumble, leading several credit agencies to downgrade their scores. But Svanberg doesn't see a stop to drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.
"It's an important area for the world's oil production. If it's closed off, prices will go up," he said.