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U.S. Safety Board Says Lapses Led to BP Oil Spill

HOUSTON--The U.S. Chemical Safety Board said Tuesday Transocean Ltd. (RIG, RIGN.VX) and BP PLC (BP, BP.LN) had multiple deficiencies in their safety-management systems that contributed to the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe. The way the two companies and U.S. oil-industry organizations measured safety didn't focus on major accidents, but on personal-safety incidents and other lagging indicators, the agency said. The agency's remarks are part of a wide reaction by U.S. regulators to the deep-water blowout that in 2010 killed 11 people aboard a Transocean rig leased by BP, and led to a three-month offshore oil spill, the worst in U.S. history. The CSB, which typically investigates onshore accidents at major industrial sites, was asked by a Congressional committee to conduct an investigation on the disaster, despite opposition from some in the offshore industry who have alleged the U.S. Gulf of Mexico is outside the agency's area of jurisdiction. The CSB said a "robust system of process safety indicators" might have revealed many of the problems that led to the disaster, including discordant safety controls between BP and Transocean, over-reliance on manual intervention by the crew, fickle safety plans, and lack of follow-up after smaller or similar incidents. BP and Transocean didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. Write to Angel Gonzalez at [email protected] Subscribe to WSJ:

Stock News for Transocean (RIG)
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