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Reuters: BP poaches Shell refinery boss to run Texas City

Fri Aug 25, 2006 11:19am ET

NEW YORK, Aug 25 (Reuters) – Oil major BP Plc has hired a refinery manager from Royal Dutch Shell Plc to run its troubled Texas City plant, breaking an oil industry taboo against poaching staff from competitors.

BP said on Friday Keith Casey, who is currently the general manager of the Motiva joint venture refinery in Norco, Louisiana, will join BP in September and take over as manager of the 460,000 barrels per day Texas City, Texas plant in the first quarter of 2007.

Motiva is a joint venture between Shell and Saudi Aramco.

The Texas City refinery was the site of one of the worst industrial accidents in recent U.S. history after an explosion killed 15 people and injured scores more.

BP has set aside hundreds of millions of dollars to pay compensation to the victims of the blast and is planning a further $1 billion outlay to simplify the plant and improve safety.

BP’s image in the United States has been seriously damaged by a string of incidents ranging from the Texas City blast to a major oil spill in Alaska and the subsequent partial shutdown of the Prudhoe Bay oil field earlier this month.

BP America president Bob Malone has been charged with improving BP’s safety record in the United States. Malone has been assembling a team of executives to help improve performance at BP’s U.S. units.

Most recently, Malone tapped Richard Cape, the head of BP’s Atlantic LNG joint venture in Trinidad and Tobago to become vice president of compliance and ethics for BP America.

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