Despite those repeated promises to reform, BP continues to lag other oil companies when it comes to safety, according to federal officials and industry analysts. Many problems still afflict its operations in Texas and Alaska, they say. Regulators are investigating a whistle-blower’s allegations of safety violations at the Atlantis, one of BP’s newest offshore drilling platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.
Now BP is in the spotlight because of the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon, which killed 11 people and continues to spew oil into the ocean. It is too early to say what caused the explosion. Other companies were also involved, including Transocean, which owned and operated the drilling rig, and Halliburton, which had worked on the well a day before the explosion.
(click to continue reading BP Has a History of Blasts and Oil Spills – NYTimes.com.)
Because BP just doesn’t give a rats-ass, and nobody is making them care either
But BP, the nation’s biggest oil and gas producer, has a worse health, environment and safety record than many other major oil companies, according to Yulia Reuter, the head of the energy research team at RiskMetrics, a consulting group that assigns scores to companies based on their performance in various categories, including safety.
government officials say that they are troubled by the continuation of hazardous practices at BP’s refineries and Alaskan oil operations despite warnings from regulators.
For example, last year the Occupational Safety and Health Administration found more than 700 violations at the Texas City refinery — many concerning faulty valves, which are critical for safety given the high temperatures and pressures. The agency fined BP a record $87.4 million, which was more than four times the previous record fine, also to BP, for the 2005 explosion.
Another refinery, in Toledo, Ohio, was fined $3 million two months ago for “willful” safety violations, including the use of valves similar to those that contributed to the Texas City blast.
“BP has systemic safety and health problems,” said Jordan Barab, the assistant secretary of labor for OSHA. “They need to take their intentions and apply them much more effectively on the ground, where the hazards actually lie.”
Problems also remain in Alaska. In January, leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent BP a letter highlighting “serious safety and production incidents” over the last two years in Prudhoe Bay, the nation’s largest oil field.
So you make up your own mind: is BP cavalier about drilling safety? Or do they just consistently have “bad” luck, year after year after year…Footnotes: