Federal regulators charge BP with another set of safety violations

Federal regulators have cited BP with another round of violations in connection with the Deepwater Horizon explosion, the workers killed in the incident, and the massive oil spill that erupted from the Macondo well a mile below the surface. Each safety violation the government cites BP for entails a civil penalty that the oil giant will have to pay should the charges stick.

The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), which replaced the corrupted Minerals Management Service after the Gulf oil spill, cited BP for five noncompliance violations Wednesday. The citations included four for failing to suspend drilling procedures when data determined the operations became unsafe, indicating that BP ignored critical signs on four separate occasions, which if heeded might have prevented the disaster. The BSEE issued a fifth citation to BP for its failure to conduct the required pressure integrity tests on the Macondo well.

BSEE regulators handed down the first set of safety citations to BP and its partners and contractors in October. BP received seven of the original 15 citations; Transocean, the Deepwater Horizon platform’s owner-lessor, and Halliburton, which BP hired to cement the well, each received four of the citations.

Regulators based the original citations on the findings of an investigation jointly conducted by the Bureau of Ocean Energy, Management, Regulation and Enforcement and the Coast Guard. According to the Times-Picayune, all three of the companies were cited for “failing to to protect health, safety, property and the environment by failing to perform all operations in a safe and workmanlike manner, for not taking measures to prevent unauthorized discharge of pollutants into offshore waters and for not taking the necessary measures to keep the well under control at all times.”

BP received additional violations for its failure to conduct a vital pressure integrity test, properly cement the well, maintain the blowout preventer system (BOP), and obtain approval for the temporary abandonment procedures it used.

BP says is plans to appeal both rounds of charges.