13 May 2007 - 10:11
  • News Code: 104470

LONDON -- UK "s Health and Safety Executive ordered BP to perform a major audit of its safety practices for UK North Sea platform operations, raising fresh fears about the company"s safety culture.

HSE in March served BP with an improvement notice that required it to improve its operations and show that it is meeting health and safety regulations after a series of safety concerns on the Schiehallion floating production and storage facility, 150 miles west of Shetland. Within the past year, BP received 14 safety standards notices, and it has complied with 10 of them.


UK unions for oil and gas workers were unsurprised at the news, stressing that they have been campaigning for an improved safety culture in the UK North Sea for some time and that investment is needed to maintain oil and gas infrastructure, particularly as energy prices currently are so high.


HSE said that over the past year it has served 51 improvement notices and nine prohibition notices on various platforms and other companies in the UK sector of the North Sea.


The HSE notices for BP, however, come amid a company wide review of its operations following harsh criticisms of its safety practices in the Baker report published earlier this year, which examined the Texas City refinery fire that killed 15 people in March 2005. Last year BP also was forced to close in oil production from its Alaska Prudhoe Bay field because of pipeline corrosion.


BP yesterday said it had appointed independent expert, Duane Wilson, a retired ConocoPhillips vice-president for refining and marketing, to lead its safety improvements in wake of the Baker report.


Tony Hayward, BP"s new chief executive, who took over the company late last week, is expected to make safety an important part of his agenda in the early part of his tenure. Hayward became John Browne"s successor after Browne resigned earlier than expected following revelations that he had lied in court about a personal issue that later was disclosed in the British press.



News Code 104470

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