BP cited for North Sea safety failures: report

15th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

BP failed to comply with emergency regulations on oil spills at four out of five of its North Sea installations which were inspected last year, a report said Wednesday, citing official records.

The British oil giant had not complied with rules on regular training for offshore operators on how to respond to an incident, according to inspection records obtained by the Financial Times newspaper.

BP also failed to carry out oil spill exercises adequately, said inspectors from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the British government body which monitors compliance with companies' approved emergency plans.

The disclosure came as BP struggles to rebuild its tarnished image in the wake of the devastating Gulf of Mexico spill, which sent millions of barrels of oil gushing into the sea and took around three months to cap.

BP has 33 rigs and platforms in the North Sea, of which 12 were inspected by DECC in the five years until the end of 2009, according to the FT.

Records of all 23 inspections carried out by DECC in that period contain criticism of BP's training procedures, said the report.

Of those, eight inspection records on seven different installations indicated the necessary training had not taken place, according to the FT.

BP said it had now addressed the issues.

"It was identified that at one point, a relatively small number of trained individuals had not attended a refresher course in the required time frame. This issue has since been addressed," the oil company was cited as telling the FT.

"The whole industry has gone through a process of updating their oil spill response plans since official guidance was issued by the government in February 2009; BP's new format has been described by the government as best in class."

Millions of barrels of oil gushed out of the well off the coast of Louisiana after it was ruptured by an April 20 explosion aboard the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that killed 11 workers.

© 2010 AFP

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