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Hayward defends BP's safety record

Embattled BP boss Tony Hayward has defended the firm's safety record as he was grilled by a committee of MPs over the implications of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The outgoing BP chief executive said recent criticisms had not exposed "any fundamental weakness" in the company's operations in UK waters.

Mr Hayward spoke out as he was quizzed by the Energy and Climate Change Committee, which is investigating the implications of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill for offshore drilling in the UK.

In his first UK appearance since the Deepwater Horizon explosion, he said the disaster had been personally "devastating" because he had made safety the firm's top priority.

But he was forced to explain why inspections on BP's North Sea installations found some did not comply with guidelines over regular training for operators on how to respond to an incident.

Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) inspectors also found the firm had not conducted oil spill exercises properly at some of its offshore sites.

Mr Hayward told the MPs: "We have a very strong track record in the North Sea. It is better than the industry average. We have seen major improvements in the course of the last two years."

DECC had publicly said that "nothing that they identified compromised the overall integrity of the installation or its pollution response provision", he said.

Last week oil and gas industry leaders in the UK insisted there was "no case" for a moratorium on offshore drilling in deep water here in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico disaster because the regulatory regime was very strong.

Mr Hayward has been at the centre of the storm over offshore drilling since the explosion on BP's Deepwater Horizon rig in April, which killed 11 workers and left millions of gallons of oil gushing into the Gulf.


From Belfast Telegraph