BP's Browne may face Texas deaths probe
US safety watchdog carrying out 'detailed and copious investigation' into explosion last year
Sunday 11 June 2006
Lord Browne, the chief executive of BP, is facing a possible grilling by the US federal safety watchdog over last year's explosion at the oil giant's Texas refinery, which killed 15 people.
Don Holmstrom, the lead investigator at the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB), told The Independent on Sunday that it was "possible" Lord Browne would be interviewed. He said the CSB would decide in the next few weeks.
A spokesman for the CSB admitted that "it would not be typical" if Lord Browne was called to give evidence. "But this was not a typical accident," he added. "This was the worst workplace accident for 15 years. We are doing the most detailed and copious investigation."
BP's environmental and safety record has been tarnished by a string of recent incidents and ongoing investigations. Last week it emerged that the company had received a subpoena from a federal grand jury relating to its oil spill in Alaska in March. Should the grand jury decide to indict BP, it could result in fines and even prison sentences for some of its officials.
The CSB does not have the power to fine or prosecute companies. It will publish its investigation into the Texas accident, probably in November. Its remit is to identify where a company has breached safety practices and to recommend new guidelines where relevant to prevent future accidents.
Mr Holmstrom said the team from the CSB had already interviewed the head of BP's global refining division. "It's possible [that we will interview Lord Browne]," he added. "We have not made a decision. It depends on factors which may come from additional interviews. We want to know what improvements were made, what was done and not done."
The accident happened in March last year when a gas drum exploded and ripped into contractors' trailers nearby, killing 15 people and injuring 170. In September, BP was fined $21m (£11m) by US regulators.
In an initial report, the CSB said: "Many of the CSB team's findings are indicative of management culture issues at BP."
A spokesman for BP stated that "BP has fully co-operated with the CSB. We will continue to give serious consideration to future requests."
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
iJobs Money & Business
£43500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operatio...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...