You are here

UK oil major to improve oil spill response exercises

03rd October 2012

Energy super-major BP vows to improve oil spill response strategies, following recommendations issued by the US government

UK energy oil major to improve oil spill response exercises
Oil storage facilities are required to have an oil spill response strategy in place

A UK oil major vows to implement an enhanced health and safety "oil spill response program at its oil terminals nationwide,” it emerged last week. The announcement follows an agreement with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and US Department of Justice regarding irregularities during a spill response training exercise conducted at a terminal in Maryland in 2005.

A US division of UK energy giant BP, BP Products North America has agreed to improve its oil spill response training exercises, the company and US government agencies announced in separate press releases on Thursday.

“BP Products North America, Inc. will pay a USD 210,000 penalty and implement an enhanced oil spill response program at its oil terminals nationwide, as well as a comprehensive compliance audit to resolve alleged violations of oil spill response regulations at its Curtis Bay Terminal in Md,” the US EPA said in a statement.

The US environmental regulator in 2006 issued a notice of violation to BP regarding spill response training exercises conducted at the Curtis Bay Terminal in 2005. It alleged that BP breached state regulations which require oil storage facilities to carry out oil spill practice drills. No actual oil spillages occurred at the terminal, BP said.

The Curtis Bay Terminal has a storage capacity of approximately 500,000 barrels of oil.  As an oil storage facility, it is required to have an oil spill response plan in place. This includes staff training, spill response equipment and a worst case scenario strategy for the containment of oil spills.

“BP is committed to safe operations and we conduct regular emergency response exercises at our fuel terminals,” said Steve Pankhurst, president of BP Pipelines North America. “In 2005, our spill response contractor did not meet BP or EPA’s standards for rapid response during drills. This was unacceptable to us and we took action to replace the contractor.”