Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"Years of Internal BP Probes Warned That Neglect Could Lead to Accidents" (BP)

British Petroleum: A Month From Chapter 11? (BP)
Original post:
Think Bhopal.
After the December 1984 disaster, Union Carbide went into a irrecoverable decline which didn't end until the company was purchased by Dow Chemical in February 2001.
In late pre-market the stock is down 2% at $34.oo.
From Pro Publica:
A series of internal investigations over the past decade warned senior BP managers that the company repeatedly disregarded safety and environmental rules and risked a serious accident if it did not change its ways.

The confidential inquiries, which have not previously been made public, focused on a rash of problems at BP's Alaska oil-drilling unit that undermined the company’s publicly proclaimed commitment to safe operations. They described instances in which management flouted safety by neglecting aging equipment, pressured or harassed employees not to report problems, and cut short or delayed inspections in order to reduce production costs. Executives were not held accountable for the failures, and some were promoted despite them.

Similar themes about BP operations elsewhere were sounded in interviews with former employees, in lawsuits and little-noticed state inquiries, and in e-mails obtained by ProPublica. Taken together, these documents portray a company that systemically ignored its own safety policies across its North American operations - from Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico to California and Texas.

Tony Hayward, BP's CEO, has committed himself to reform since taking the top job in 2007. Top BP officials would not comment for this story, but spokesman Tony Odone said that in March an independent expert reported that BP has made "significant progress" toward meeting goals set in 2007 in response to a deadly Texas refinery explosion. Odone said the notion that BP has ongoing problems addressing worker concerns is "essentially groundless."

Because of its string of accidents before the recent blowout in the Gulf, BP already faced a possible ban on its federal contracting and on new U.S. drilling leases [3] [3], several senior former Environmental Protection Agency debarment officials told ProPublica. That inquiry has taken on new significance in light of the Gulf accident. One key question the EPA will consider is whether the company's leadership can be trusted and whether BP's culture can change.

The reports detailing BP's Alaska investigations -- conducted by outside lawyers and an internal BP committee in 2001, 2004 and 2007 -- were provided to ProPublica by a person close to BP who believes the company has not yet done enough to eradicate its shortcomings....MUCH MORE
113 by Greenpeace UK.