The Deepwater Horizon catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico is making an impact on BP’s Alaska operations.
Alaska employees with certain expertise are going south in response to the incident, in which the Transocean Ltd. semisubmersible rig Deepwater Horizon, drilling an exploration well for BP about 41 miles offshore Louisiana, exploded on April 20 and later sank. Eleven of the rig’s 126-member crew died in the tragedy.
Among the BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. workers transferring out due to the disaster and a massive effort to control leaking oil are Tony Brock, the Alaska subsidiary’s vice president for health, safety, security and the environment.
“There are BP people from all around the world helping with various parts of the response to the Gulf incident, and he’s one of them,” Steve Rinehart, BP’s Anchorage spokesman, told Petroleum News on April 28.
Brock arrived in Alaska in August 2007 to head BP Alaska’s new “technical directorate,” which was set up in the wake of the corrosion-related pipeline spills of 2006 in the Prudhoe Bay oil field.
He reported initially to Doug Suttles, who was then president of BP Alaska. Suttles is now chief operating officer for BP exploration and production, and himself heavily involved with the Deepwater Horizon response.
Brock’s transfer out of Alaska is not permanent, Rinehart said. He declined to specify other BP Alaska employees also headed south as a result of the rig disaster and spill.
BP said it had established an investigation team in Houston, and had staffed up its Houston crisis center to support the response.
Rinehart said he, too, might soon be among BP Alaska employees rotating into the Gulf region to work.