Budget cuts cited in deadly plant blast
According to the Associated Press, internal documents show that budget cuts and a lack of leadership contributed to significant safety problems at BP PLC''s Texas City plant, the site of last year''s deadly explosion, federal investigators said. In preliminary findings, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board said BP management knew about maintenance, spending and infrastructure problems well before the March 2005 blast that killed 15 people and injured more than 170. BP has been beset by troubles with its North America operations since the blast. In August, the company cut production at its Prudhoe Bay field in Alaska, the largest in the U.S., after it uncovered severe pipeline corrosion and a small leak. BP has also delayed the opening of its Thunder Horse platform in the Gulf of Mexico -- damaged by Hurricane Dennis last year -- from 2007 to the middle of 2008 because of equipment failures.