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BP might be in legal hot water

Stephen Beard Jan 16, 2007

LISA NAPOLI: First the Iraq Study Group report. Now the former Secretary Of State James Baker’s been working on an investigation into BP oil refineries in the United States. After several delays, it’s due out today. It was commissioned after that fatal explosion at BP’s Texas City refinery. From London, Stephen Beard has more.

STEPHEN BEARD: The Texas City blast in 2005 was the worst industrial accident in the U.S. for a decade. 15 people died . 500 were injured.

The Baker report is not expected to blame individuals, but it does criticize the company.

Carola Hoyos of the Financial Times says the report accuses BP of failing to put enough effort or money into making its U.S. refineries safe. This could have legal repercussions for the company

CAROLA HOYOS: This report looks like it’s going to be relatively damning and that’ll give ammunition to those who are suing BP or those who are thinking about it. That’s both on the private side and also in terms of the state.

A grand jury is investigating whether or not to bring criminal charges over the blast.

The Baker report appears to have claimed its first casualty. BP’s boss Lord Browne, once one of Britain’s most admired businessmen, says he’s now leaving the company earlier than planned.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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