* 'Inadequate management' cause of 75 incidents reviewed
* BP trails other rivals in safety risk mitigation
* 2015 internal report says 'highly material safety risks'
By Ron Bousso
LONDON, Dec 13 BP's refining operations
are exposed to high safety risks that can lead to deadly
accidents and pollution as a result of slack management and a
lack of investment, according to a leaked internal report from
The report, co-authored by BP, IBM and industry
consultancy WorleyParsons, states that the British
company's refining and petrochemical business, known as
downstream, is trailing rivals such as Royal Dutch Shell by up
to seven years in managing information to reduce safety risks
and financial losses.
"Inadequate management and use of engineering information
has been a root cause or contributing factor" in 15 percent of
500 high-risk incidents reviewed in the report, which was
provided by Greenpeace.
BP has strived to improve its safety record since the 2010
Deepwater Horizon rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico where 11
people were killed and which led to the largest environmental
disaster in U.S. history.
In comments on the leaked report, BP said it was "committed
to safe, reliable and compliant operations. With that in mind,
BP regularly conducts internal assessments in an effort to make
improvements to its operations".
"This particular report focused on potential enhancements to
how BP manages engineering data. It is not an analysis of any
operational incidents, and any suggestion that this report
indicates BP is wavering from its safety commitment is wrong," a
company spokesman said.
The most significant incident recorded by the authors
occurred in January 2014 at the 413,500 barrels per day (bpd)
Whiting, Indiana refinery which cost BP $258 million in lost
production. The incident at the gasoil hydrotreater unit, which
removes sulphur from oil, was due to "multiple deficiencies in
engineering information management".
At the Hull petrochemical plant in northern England
equipment that was not operated correctly led to losses of $35
million to $45 million.
BP's safety record came in to focus in 2005 when a blast at
its Texas City refinery killed 15 workers and injured 180
others. BP was fined $84.6 million by the U.S. Occupational
Safety and Health Administration between 2005 and 2012 for
safety rules violations found at the refinery in investigations
following the blast.
The report said highly material safety risk and financial
performance issues remained due to "the lack of refining and
petrochemicals-wide direction, governance, coordination and
The upstream segment, which produces oil and gas, has
further work to do but is however significantly ahead of
downstream, the report said, reflecting the big focus BP has
placed on safety after the Deepwater Horizon explosion.
Greenpeace UK's senior climate adviser Charlie Kronick said
in a statement that "BP's sloppy approach to a crucial aspect of
safety hasn't changed".
"The same happy-go-lucky attitude that played a role in
major accidents in the past is seemingly still reflected in the
management of safety information across the oil giant's
operations from rig to refinery."
(Reporting by Ron Bousso; editing by Susan Thomas)