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BP agrees to pay record fine for 2005 refinery explosion

But the €39.3m it’s paying won’t come close to matching the fines it’ll have for the Gulf oil leak.

Image: Katie Collins/PA

BP HAS AGREED to pay a record $50.6m (€39.3m) fine for failing to impose the correct safety standards at a plant in Texas where 15 people were killed after an explosion in 2005.

The United States’ Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said the penalty “rightly reflects BP’s disregard for workplace safety” and hopes to collect another $30m (€23.3m) in fines from BP relating to the incident.

The fine is the largest ever given out by the United States to an employer for violation of safety practices, and follows a similar fine of $21.5m levied for the same incident in 2005.

The fines are dwarfed, however, by the $500m BP has agreed to spend on fixing safety problems at the refinery, and the $373m it paid in 2007 to settle criminal and civil charges in respect of the explosion.

All of the above, however, will be massively superseded by the fines that the company will face as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico this year.

Its fines for that spill will range from a minimum of $1,100 (€836) to a maximum $4,300 (€3,269) per barrel spilled, depending on the level of negligence shown by BP – meaning the company could be fined as much as $21 billion as a result.

The American government has agreed, meanwhile, to accept BP’s revenues as collateral for its contributions to the fines, having originally demanded been reluctant to do so in case it ended up having to repossess the oil well that had caused such ecological damage.

BP will also likely face massive fines after it was found that warning alarms on the Deepwater Horizon rig, which exploded killing 11 people and triggering the Gulf spill, had been turned off so as to allow employees sleep through the night.

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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