BP crack downs on safety in major shake-up

Head of exploration division at time of Deepwater Horizon explosion to leave

BP tried to turn the tide against its battered reputation yesterday, creating a new safety and risk division and reshuffling its top team of managers just two days before Bob Dudley takes over as the energy giant's new chief executive.

Andy Inglis, the current head of the Upstream business, who was in charge of drilling at the time of the Gulf of Mexico spill, will also leave the company. The spokesman declined to say whether Mr Inglis had been made redundant, but confirmed that his "role has disappeared".

The changes follow the explosion in April on the group's Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico, which killed 11 employees and led to the worst oil spill in US history. The company finally sealed the leaking Macondo well last week.

"These are the first and most urgent steps in a programme I am putting in place to rebuild trust in BP – the trust of our customers, of governments, of our employees and of the world at large," Mr Dudley said.

"That trust is vital to the restoration of shareholder value which has been so adversely affected by recent events. The changes are in areas where I believe we most clearly need to act, with safety and risk management our most urgent priority."

The company hopes that the move will assuage the anger that has followed both the spill, and BP's initial reaction to it. On 14 May, more than a month after the explosion, outgoing chief executive Tony Hayward said: "the Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of volume of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume."

Later, referring to the extra work the disaster had caused, he told reporters, "I want my life back".

BP said yesterday that its new safety unit would have "sweeping powers to oversee and audit the company's operations around the world" and would have staff imbedded in BP's operating units, with the "authority to intervene in all aspects of BP's technical activities".

The department will be headed by Mark Bly, who is already the company's head of safety, and had overall responsibility for safety on the Deepwater Horizon. A spokesman said that Mr Bly's role would be strengthened and he would now be given a seat on the executive leadership team. He will report directly to Mr Dudley.

"I sincerely hope it will work, but safety was a cornerstone of the strategy before the Deepwater accident," said Dougie Youngson, an analyst at Arbuthnot Securities. "It is a positive first step, but we'll have to wait and see how effective it will be."

BP faced criticism for its safety record before the Deepwater Horizon accident, especially in the United States. In 2005, an explosion at the company's Texas City oil refinery killed 17 workers, and injured more than 170.

As part of the changes, which BP said yesterday were already planned but speeded up after the decision was taken to replace Mr Hayward, the group will split its Upstream business – the exploration and production arm – into three divisions: Exploration, Development and Production. The three units are to carry out a "detailed and wide-ranging review of how it manages third-party contractors".

BP has accepted responsibility for the accident, and has set up a $20bn escrow fund to compensate the victims, but has also sought to share responsibility with US group Transocean – the owner and operator of the rig – and Halliburton, which was contracted to perform several services related to the drilling. The disaster happened after signs that pressure was building at the Macondo well head were missed.

BP also said that it will conduct a fundamental review of how the group incentivises business performance, including reward strategy, with the aim of encouraging excellence in safety and risk management.

Mr Hayward is set to join BP's Russian joint venture, TNK-BP.

voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth GamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Karen Dunbar performs
Entertainers showcase local wit, talent and irrepressible spirit
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Bey can do it: Beyoncé re-enacts Rosie the Riveter's pose
newsRosie the Riveter started out as an American wartime poster girl and has become a feminist pin-up. With Beyoncé channeling her look, Gillian Orr tells her story
Life and Style
Donna and Paul Wheatley at their wedding
healthShould emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

PMO Analyst - London - Banking - £350 - £400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: PMO Analyst - Banking - London - £350 -£400 per d...

Cost Reporting-MI Packs-Edinburgh-Bank-£350/day

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Cost Reporting Manager - MI Packs -...

Insight Analyst – Permanent – Up to £40k – North London

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum plus 23 days holiday and pension scheme: Clearwater ...

Test Lead - London - Investment Banking

£475 - £525 per day: Orgtel: Test Lead, London, Investment Banking, Technical ...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements