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USA: Family of one of 11 missing workers sue BP, Transocean over oil rig explosion

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27 April 2010

Safety lessons in a dangerous industry [USA]

Author: Financial Times [UK]

The fatal explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico is a disaster...Oil exploration and production is intrinsically a hazardous business...While BP is not alone in suffering serious incidents, its recent past casts a shadow...The explosion at its Texas City refinery in 2005...[and the Prudhoe Bay oil spill in 2006] reverberate each time BP is linked with an incident...In the present instance, this is somewhat unfair. BP’s general safety performance has continued to improve under Tony Hayward, who became chief executive in 2007...[T]hough the rig was operating on BP’s behalf, the UK company was not responsible for it in the way it would have been for one of its own refineries.

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27 April 2010

Whistleblower accuses BP over rig documents [USA]

Author: Tim Webb, Guardian [UK]

BP is being investigated by US authorities over claims from a whistleblower that the oil company broke the law by not keeping key documents relating to a giant deepwater production platform in the Gulf of Mexico...The documents for the huge Atlantis platform act as an "operator's manual", and a complete up-to-date set of records is vital to shut down the platform properly in case of an emergency...The Minerals Management Service (MMS), the US government agency responsible for overseeing offshore oil and renewable activities, is expected to launch an investigation into the [Deepwater Horizon] disaster this week. But...a separate MMS investigation into the Atlantis rig allegations is being launched.

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25 April 2010

Blowout: BP’s deadly oil rig disaster [USA]

Author: Danny Fortson, Sunday Times [UK]

...[A]t 10pm last Tuesday, [oil rig] Deepwater Horizon’s lights went out...Moments later...the Deepwater Horizon exploded into a fireball...Kurt Arnold, a Houston lawyer with a pending case against Transocean [the firm that owned the rig] said: “The reality is that as we push and push into deeper exploration, deaths and injuries are more of a problem”… It is still unclear what caused the accident but it appears to have been a blowout...Less than 36 hours passed before BP [which had hired the rig] and Transocean were hit with the first lawsuit [filed on behalf of] one of the 11 missing, now presumed dead…It will be months before the cause of the disaster is determined and years before the last payouts are made.

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22 April 2010

Oil Rig Blast Renews USW Call for Tougher Safety Regs [USA]

Author: Mike Hall, AFL-CIO NOW blog

The United Steelworkers (USW) again called for an overhaul of health and safety within the oil industry following the explosion yesterday on an oil drilling rig… in the Gulf of Mexico. It was the fourth oil industry incident in a little more than two weeks that has killed or seriously injured workers. USW Vice President Gary Beevers says, “While this is a dangerous industry, there are too many workers losing their lives. How many more workers have to pay the price for the industry’s lack of a safety culture? The industry is long overdue for a complete overhaul of its health and safety provisions."

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