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Deepwater Horizon Lacked Plan for Major Accidents, Board Says

The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico lacked a safety program to prevent major accidents and instead concentrated on the safety of workers, an investigator said.

“Performance contracts, safety programs and rewards systems focused on personal safety indicators,” Don Holmstrom, lead investigator at the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, said today in prepared remarks for a hearing on the blowout of a well being drilled for BP Plc.

The board is investigating the April 20 blast at BP’s Macondo well that killed 11 workers, spewed crude for 87 days and shut a third of the Gulf to commercial fishing. The disaster also is being investigated by a Coast Guard-Interior Department board and the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill named by President Barack Obama.

The chemical board, which canceled or accelerated some investigations to focus on examining the offshore explosion, holds its first public hearing in Washington today.

London-based BP owned the Macondo well. Transocean Ltd. owned the rig that exploded and Halliburton Co. supplied cement to plug the well. The spill led to ban of deep-water drilling in the Gulf that halted work on 33 rigs. The moratorium was lifted on Oct. 12.

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