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BP 'dropped the ball': US government safety panel

Published 25/07/2012

Oil company BP focused too much on the little details of personal worker safety instead of on 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 that 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 757 million litres of oil flowed into the gulf.

"BP applied lesser process safety standards" to rigs contracted out than it did to its own facilities, US Chemical Safety Board Managing Director Daniel Horowitz said.

"In reality, both (drilling contractor) Transocean and BP dropped the ball on major accident hazards in this case."

The safety board said that when BP looked at offshore endeavours it had "focused on financial risks, not process safety risks".

A BP spokesman said the company had "stepped up" and developed more rigorous safety indicators following the accident.

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