Too Lenient on BP?

BP's blatant disregard for safety.

Clear Skies, Fouled Waters


You were too kind to BP [ First Up, July 2010] when you said two strikes and out. BP has had far more than two strikes in regard to safety issues between the Texas City explosion and the Deepwater Horizon explosion:

  • 2005 Texas City -- 15 deaths;
  • 2006 Alaska North Slope -- 200,000 gallons of oil spilled;
  • 1996 to 2009 -- BP-operated platforms spilled a total of about 7,000 barrels of oil (14% of the amount spilled in the Gulf by any company). In that period, BP accounted for 15% of the oil production in the Gulf.
  • October 2009 Prudhoe Bay, Alaska -- Gas at the field's central processing plant leaked because of a stuck valve. BP operators were unaware of the leak because a pilot flame was not lit and security cameras were not pointed in the right direction. If it had ignited, it would have been a significant event. This was disaster averted by the capricious winds of luck, not BP's standards.
  • 2010 Deepwater Horizon -- 11 deaths and massive oil spill, still ongoing.
These are only a few of the major safety-related issues that BP has had within the United States and surrounding waters, not worldwide as that is even more dismal. The two strikes remark sounds like they are not given a fair chance. If anything, BP had (has) a blatant disregard for safety. Particularly when compared to the other oil majors operating in the same local areas. This would still be the case if BP is found to not have been at fault for the current issue in the gulf. BP also accounts for a lopsided amount of the citations OSHA has handed out to oil companies.

Perhaps the government has some blame for lax oversight, but other oil majors had the same oversight and have done much better with safety.

Brian Traynor
Safety Director
Pewaukee, Wis.
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