BP focused too much on the little details of personal worker safety instead of the big systemic hazards that led to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill and was not as strict on overall safety when drilling rigs involved other companies they hired, a US government safety panel has concluded.
Eleven workers were killed in the April 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig and about 200million gallons of oil escaped from the blown-out Macondo well.
The company had the lease on the well, but the rig was owned and operated by another company and BP has faulted drilling contractor Transocean.
That contractor-owner split made a difference in major accident prevention with the oil disaster, the US Chemical Safety Board concluded in a presentation made at a hearing in Houston yesterday. “BP applied lesser process safety standards” to rigs contracted out than it does to its own facilities, safety board managing director Daniel Horowitz said. “In reality, both Transocean and BP dropped the ball on major accident hazards.”
The oil company “did not conduct an effective comprehensive hazard evaluation of the major accident risks because BP’s large risk evaluation programme “looked only at BP assets, not drilling rigs it contracted” to other firms investigators said.
A BP spokesman said the company “stepped up” and had developed more rigorous safety indicators.