Thursday, June 15, 2006

BP: Nothing To See Here Folks. Just Move Along.

The CEO of oil giant BP, Lord John Browne, assures us all that the little problems that caused the explosion that killed 15 workers and injured 170 at BP's Texas City refinery last year were just confined to that one plant alone, and there are no other problems in any of BP's four other North American refineries.The US Justice Department is also considering criminal indictments of BP for the Texas City explosion.
"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.

"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."
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.

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.

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.
Nope. Nothing to see here. Everything's under control.