The Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico caught fire and sank in 2010. It's estimated that oil spilled at a rate of more than 50,000 barrels per day for much of the summer.
Bernard Looney, BP's chief executive in charge of new well operations, told investors at an offshore technology conference in Houston that walking away from the Gulf of Mexico meant walking away from the company's future.
"Our considered decision was to press ahead with our exploration and development program, coupled with a reinforced focus on risk management," he said.
The company said it plans to spend around $4 billion on new developments in the Gulf of Mexico this year. Looney said the British supermajor aims "to invest at least that much every year over the next decade."