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Reference no. 707-014-1
Prize winner
Published by:
IBS Center for Management Research (2007)
22 pages
Data source:
Published sources


This case is about the safety problems faced by BP, the third-largest oil and gas producer in the world. On 23 March 2005, an explosion at BP's Texas City refinery resulted in one of the most serious workplace accidents in the US. An investigation by The US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) uncovered many safety lapses at the Texas City refinery. BP was accused of endangering its workers by compromising on process safety due to its high emphasis on cost cutting. The Texas accident was not the only safety lapse at BP. In March 2006, a large oil spill was discovered due to a corroded pipeline at BP's Prudhoe Bay refinery in Alaska, USA. Critics alleged that BP had put profits before safety. BP was also criticised for spending millions of dollars to project a 'green' and 'environment-friendly' image, while failing to take care of basic operational safety issues. BP surprised many when it announced that its Chief Executive Officer, Lord Robert Browne, would step down by the end of July 2007, which was earlier than the scheduled retirement in 2008. It also announced that Tony Hayward, the Head of BP's exploration and production, would succeed Browne. This case discusses the findings of the report released by the BP US Refineries Independent Safety Review Panel (popularly known as the Baker report), the criticisms regarding BP's safety culture, and the steps taken by BP to rectify these issues.

Teaching and learning

This item is suitable for postgraduate courses.


BP (British Petroleum); Safety culture and leadership; Process safety management; Baker Panel report; Industrial management; Greenwashing; Texas City refinery; Purdhoe Bay, Alaska; Corporate culture; Succession issues; Corporate social responsibility (CSR); Exxon Mobile Corporation; Lord Browne; Employee safety; Exxon-Valdez


The events covered by this item took place in 2005-2007.

Geographical setting

United States
Texas City; Alaska

Featured company

Company name:
British Petroleum BP
Oil & gas industry

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