BP: The Mother of all Egregious Violators

By John Lounsbury.

Here is some astounding news:  BP PLC (BP) has 97% of the most serious safety violations at U.S. refineries over the past 35 months.  In the very top "egregious" category, BP has 99.9% of all violations.  Most have occurred at two refineries, Texas City, TX and Toledo, OH.  The Texas City refinery is the location of a March, 2005 explosion and fire that killed 15 workers.

The details of the violations have been reported by Jim Morris and M.B. Pell at The Center for Public Integrity.   Most of the problems are related faulty safety practices associated with the 2005 explosion.

Wikipedia has a list of all the refineries in the world, organized by country.  From this a spreadsheet has been constructed for all the U.S. refineries.  BP operates six of the 150 U.S. refineries (4.5%) and processes 8.6% of the oil.

Nathan Yau at Flowing Data.com has a nice graphical representation of the situation.


Are "willful and flagrant violation" of safety and "intentional disregard" of safety criminal acts?  Can they be criminal only if someone is injured or dies?  These are questions that need to be addressed.

One thing is clear.  With 4.5% of U.S. refineries and 8.6% of capacity, BP’s 99.9% of all egregious violations over a 31 month period represents a disregard for safe operations that should be criminal.

With this abysmal safety record, the Deep Sea Horizon explosion appears to have been simply a matter that had to occur sometime.  Other catastrophes at BP operations appear to be preordained as well, as long as they are allowed to continue to operate with egregious disregard of safety.

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