April 20 Marks First Anniversary of BP Oil Spill

April 20, 2011
The April 20, 2010 explosion that rocked BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 workers and triggered a catastrophic environmental disaster that would result in millions of barrels of oil spilling into the Gulf. On this first anniversary of the explosion, U.S. Chemical Safety Board Chairman (CSB) Chairman Dr. Rafael Moure-Eraso commented on the board’s investigation surrounding the disaster.

“I would like to take this opportunity to remember the 11 workers who were killed as a result of this catastrophic explosion and fire,” Moure-Eraso said. “We also wish to express our condolences to the families and coworkers whose lives will be forever impacted.”

Moure-Eraso explained that CSB’s independent, root-cause safety investigation examines “a number of critical offshore oil and gas process safety issues,” including blowout preventer testing, regulatory safety issues, safety management systems and human factor issues that may have contributed to the explosion.

“The CSB is evaluating the application to offshore major accident prevention of more rigorous safety management systems already in use by the oil industry in other sectors, such as refining,” Moure Eraso said. “The CSB is examining more effective existing safety standards applicable to key rig equipment, and automatic controls that could implement predetermined corrective actions if operating conditions exceed safe limits. The lack of such controls likely played a role in the accident but have not yet been examined and reported by other investigative bodies.”

In an April 20 statement, BP Group Chief Executive Bob Dudley said, “We are committed to meet our obligations to those affected by this tragedy and we will continue our work to strengthen safety and risk management across BP. But most of all today, we remember 11 fellow workers and we deeply regret the loss of their lives.”

For more coverage of the BP disaster, see:

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