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BP to create safety division after Gulf spill disaster

HOUSTON, Sept. 30 — British oil giant BP said Wednesday it will create a new safety division with sweeping powers to oversee and audit the company's operations around the world.

In a news release issued Wednesday, incoming BP CEO Robert Dudley also vowed to make other changes to the way the company operates to rebuild the battered image of BP, the operator of the Deepwater Horizion drilling rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico and unleashed the worst spill in U.S. history.

As part of the changes, Andy Ingilis, BP's head of global exploration and production will leave the company at the end of the year. The move is the first management change since BP chief executive Tony Hayward announced in July that he would step down effective Oct. 1.

The new safety division, to be led by BP's head of safety and operation Mark Bly, will be "powerful" and "designed to strengthen safety and risk management across the BP group." It will be responsible for ensuring that all operations are carried out to common standards, and for auditing compliance with those standards, " the company said.

Dudley also disclosed that BP is to re-structure its Upstream segment from a single business into three functional divisions — Exploration, Development and Production — and to carry out a detailed and wide-ranging review of how it manages third-party contractors.

"There are the first and most urgent steps in a program I am putting in place to rebuild trust in BP — the trust of our customers, of governments, of our employees and of the world at large. That trust is vital to the restoration of shareholder value which has been so adversely affected by recent events," said Dudley.

"The changes are in areas where I believe we most clearly need to act, with safety and risk management our most urgent priority," he said.

Latest figures given by U.S. researchers indict that 4.4 million barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and sank in April.

BP said its costs to clean up the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico had amounted to about 9.5 billion U.S. dollars. (PNA/Xinhua) ALM

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