Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

BP VP grilled over safety strategy

Frustrated Gulf oil spill investigators in the US lashed out at BP over its refusal to explain who was in charge of safety at the DeepwaterHorizon rig.

“Everybody in charge, nobody in charge,” summed up Coast Guard Captain Hung Nguyen, after the co-chairman of the investigation board failed to obtain the answer he wanted during a grilling of high-ranking BP staff in Houston, Texas, yesterday.

Kent Wells, the oil giant’s senior vice president, countered that there was a company-wide safety culture in which “everyone is supposed to feel responsible”.

During the hearing, Mr Wells also skirted around the question of whether the drilling of relief wells would serve as a final plug to the leak, asgovernment officials insisted.

There were “multiple options” he said, adding that the relief wells would be “the ultimate back-up if everything else fails”.

The April 20 explosion at Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 workers and led to the worst environmental disaster the region ever saw.

Since the accident, BP has come under prolonged attack in the US for perceived safety failings and its attitude towards the investigation.

In June, outgoing chief executive Tony Hayward received a relentless slating from US politicians during a session in which he was accused of”stone-walling”.

It was a theme taken up by the investigation panel yesterday.

Members appeared visibly frustrated by the answers given by Mr Wells in relation to BP’s safety set up.

Asked repeatedly if any one person had overall responsibility for safety, the BP senior vice president replied “our culture is meant thateveryone is supposed to feel responsible”.

Other high-level BP employees told the hearing that a major managerial shake-up just days before the blast led to confusion at the rig.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.