BP to link executive bonuses to safety

In a bid to rebuild energy group BP's tattered reputation on safety, its new chief executive Bob Dudley has declared that employees' performance on safety issues would be the only measure for awarding fourth-quarter bonuses.

As part of the new safety thrust, BP would lead a group of oil companies operating  in the UK in the design and procurement of a device that could cap a deep-water blowout in the North Sea similar to that which occurred in the Gulf of Mexico.

A design for the device has already been agreed to by the UK oil industry's Oil Spill Prevention and Response Advisory Group.

Analysts say Dudley needs to restore investor confidence in the London-based oil group, particularly in the US where it came under a storm of protest for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill caused by the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform in April.

The accident killed 11 oil workers and caused the biggest environmental disaster in US history. A couple of other disasters have also added to BP's woes in recent years including a refinery fire in Texas and an oil spill in Alaska.

Dudley said in a statement to BP staff, that the bonus policy was intended to reinforce the message that safety topped the company's priority and the new emphasis was meant to ensure that ''a low-probability, high-impact incident such as the Deepwater Horizon tragedy never happens again''.