Management tolerated risks and did not stress safety before a Texas oil refinery blast in March that killed 15 employees and injured more than 170, plant owner BP PLC said yesterday in its final report on the explosion.
BP, one of the world's largest oil and gas companies, said in a news release that its investigation team "found no evidence of anyone consciously or intentionally taking actions or decisions that put others at risk."
Still, the second of two BP internal reports said that "the team found many areas where procedures, policies and expected behaviors were not met."
The Texas City refinery erupted March 23 in a fiery blast that shook homes as far as five miles away and sent up a towering plume of black smoke. The explosion, which occurred when part of the plant was being restarted, resulted in numerous lawsuits and millions in fines and settlements.
BP's 192-page report said management did not make safety a priority, tolerated risks, failed to communicate and lacked an early warning system.
"The report clearly describes the underlying causes and management system failures which contributed to the worst tragedy in BP's recent history," Ross Pillari, president of BP Products North America Inc., said in a statement. "We accept the findings, and we are working to make Texas City a complex that attains the highest levels of safety, reliability and environmental performance."
Last month, BP released an anonymous survey of its Texas City workers that found that the refinery's top priority was making money and that managers neglected safety in the months before the explosion.
Yesterday's report also cited interviewees who "noted safety did not seem to be a priority, particularly as compared to cost management, for example."
In August, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board issued its first-ever urgent safety recommendation, calling for an independent panel to spend 12 months reviewing safety management and culture issues.
BP announced plans to invest about $1 billion over the next five years to improve and maintain the site.
The company has already earmarked $700 million to compensate victims and families, and it paid a $21.3 million fine after resolving more than 300 separate violations alleged by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
At its full capacity, the southeast Texas refinery processes 460,000 barrels of crude oil a day and 3 percent of the nation's gasoline. But the plant has been closed for repairs since Hurricane Rita hit the Gulf Coast in late September.