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BP to pay $50.6 mn penalty to US authorities

world Updated: Aug 13, 2010 17:04 IST

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British energy major BP Plc will pay a record fine of $50.6 million to the US authorities to settle claims related to an explosion at its Texas plant in 2005.

The company would pay the amount to US Labour Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

"BP Products North America Inc will pay a full penalty of $50.6 million stemming from the 2005 explosion at its Texas City, Texas, refinery that killed 15 workers and injured 170 others," the Labour Department said in a statement on Thursday.

The energy giant has also agreed to initiate immediate steps to protect those now working at the refinery, entailing a minimum investment of $500 million.

In a separate statement on Friday, BP said it had spent more than $1 billion on improving safety and infrastructure at the Texas City refinery during 2005-2009.

Commenting on the fine, Labour Secretary Hilda L Solis said the "size of the penalty rightly reflects BP's disregard for workplace safety and shows that we will enforce the law so workers can return home safe at the end of their day".

Ironically, BP is currently grappling with one of the worst oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico and the disaster has already cost the company more than $6 billion.

In the wake of intense pressure from the US government, the entity in June had unveiled a $20 billion fund to meet the obligations arising out of the oil spill on April 20. The disaster happened after an explosion on board the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which also claimed 11 lives.