20 March 2007 21:44 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--BP said on Tuesday it strongly disagreed with many of the findings in the US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board’s (CSB) final report on the deadly 2005 explosion at the company’s Texas refinery but would give “full and careful consideration” to the board’s recommendations.
CSB chairperson Carolyn Merritt said in a press conference that the agency found “BP’s safety culture to be broken”. The 335-page report said refinery safety was harmed by cost-cutting, production pressures and a failure to invest in the facility.
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“Notwithstanding the company’s strong disagreement with some of the content of the CSB report, particularly of the findings and conclusions, BP will give full and careful consideration to CSB’s considerations, in conjunction with the many activities already underway to improve process safety management” the company said in a statement.
BP spokesman Ronnie Chappell would not elaborate on the company’s disagreements with the report.
However, BP has said in the past that it disagrees with the assertion that cost-cutting measures were connected with the explosion.
According to the CSB report, “cost-cutting in the 1990’s by Amoco [which had owned the refinery prior to BP] and then BP left the
Shortly after acquiring Amoco, BP’s chief executive ordered an across-the-budget cut in fixed spending at the corporation’s refineries. Cost considerations discouraged refinery officials from replacing older equipment, the CSB report said.
Even after BP learned of mounting safety problems at the refinery, its executives challenged their refineries to cut yet another 25% from their budgets for the following year, according to the CSB report.
The report said bonus incentives for refinery managers continued even after three workers died in accidents at the facility in 2004. CSB lead investigator Don Holmstrom said certain safety standards were dropped from BP’s performance bonus metrics in 2003.
Chappell noted that BP has committed $1bn (€750m) toward renovating the plant and improving safety.
BP has removed trailer offices and temporary buildings from inside the refinery to keep them out of potential harm, Chappell said. And it was in the process of removing older equipment, he said.
The CSB recommended that the BP board of directors appoint an additional member to the board with expertise and refining operations and process safety.
Chappell said BP has already agreed to retain an independent safety monitor.
($1 = €0.76)
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