"We had a broken safety record at Texas City," Browne told Reuters on the sidelines of a meeting where BP presented its annual energy statistical review at the National Press Club.This would probably be news to the Chemical Safety Board which issued an urgent recommendation to BP North America last August to commission an independent panel that would review a range of safety management and culture issues stemming from the catastrophic March 23 Texas City explosion, as well as a number of other incidents at BP facilities in the United States. Former Secretary of State James Baker is heading that panel, which has not yet released its findings.
"After a lot of improvement we're learning from the accident at Texas City and I believe we are applying that learning to our refineries in the United States and worldwide in a very rapid way," he said.
When asked if safety problems were spread through its other refineries in the United States, he said, "No. This was a lesson that was specific."
Lord Browne's news would probably also come as a surprise to OSHA, which fined the company $2.4 million for unsafe operations at the company's Oregon, Ohio refinery last April.
And finally, there are probably a number of fish, carabou, polar bears and Eskimos in Alaska who are a bit flummoxed by Lord Browne's reassurances, considering a little oil spill last March, courtesy of BP:
The spill of some 267,000 gallons (1m litres) discovered at Prudhoe Bay field, is the largest ever on Alaska's North Slope region.Nope. Nothing to see here. Everything's under control.
BP Alaska, which operates the pipeline, has denied claims it failed to maintain it properly.
Such an investigation by a grand jury could lead to criminal charges and ultimately fines and prison sentences.
The spill was detected on 2 March and plugged. Local environmentalists have described it as "a catastrophe".
BP said "management failures" and "employee mistakes" were responsible.