BP CEO Vows for Safer Operations Hayward guides company towards new commitment. Tony Hayward, BP’s recently inaugurated CEO, has had his hands full. With a refinery explosion in Texas City killing 15 people, a major pipe busting in Alaska and delays with the set up of platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, Hayward has faced one operational nightmare after another. Because of this, he’s committed the company’s resources to creating a new culture of safety.
“The task is to restore confidence. It has obviously been a pretty challenging couple of years at BP,” Hayward said in an interview with the Houston Chronicle. “You earn your reputation through performance, through being clear about what you’re going to do and then doing it,” he said.
Hayward took over the CEO reins after his predecessor, Lord John Browne, resigned due to a scandal involving a former lover. Learning from the company’s former mistakes, Hayward has embraced an extensive report from an investigative panel headed by former Secretary of State James Baker III as a road map for righting safety wrongs at U.S. refineries, according to The Chronicle.
With outcries coming from all directions, including the Texas City community, Hayward has initiated a five-year plan to right the wrongs the company has recent come across. With the electrocution of a contractor last week at the refinery, safety has become more of an issue for the company than ever before.
“It’s the refining industry, so what?” Hayward said. “We have to have a work environment where people don’t get injured or killed, period.”
Last month BP took a first step that Baker’s panel recommended: appointing an independent monitor to oversee other improvements, naming Duane Wilson, a retired vice president of refining, marketing, supply and transportation for ConocoPhillips who also served on the panel, to the position.
A two-year study done by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board investigated the Texas City blast, concluding that budget cuts years prior to the incident laid the groundwork for the tragedy.
Hayward reiterated the company’s position that no link exists between the cuts and the Texas City blast or the oil spill at Prudhoe Bay on Alaska’s North Slope. “We spent a lot of time looking at that and there is no way you can say there is a direct correlation,” he said.