That BP faced serious issues with safety standards before the Gulf of Mexico oil rig explosion, is not a surprise to maritime lawyers. A new federal class-action lawsuit indicates that a former official at BP put in his resignation papers just a few months before the Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, over disagreements that he had with the company over safety standards. Kevin Lacy, the former senior vice president for drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico at BP, resigned in December 2009 after reaching a mutual understanding with the company. Lacy apparently believed that the company was not adequately committed to improving safety standards to the same levels as other oil and gas drilling companies in the Gulf of Mexico. The lawsuit was filed last year, and alleges that BP inflated its stock price by concealing important information and making misleading statements about its safety protocols before the Gulf of Mexico explosion. According to the complaint, there was a company reorganization at BP in 2007. That resulted in numerous layoffs and budget cuts. These impacted the company's ability to drill safely in the Gulf of Mexico. Lacy resigned over these declining safety standards in December 2009. That coincided with an extensive reshuffling of personnel at BP's drilling operations department. These new personnel had only been in their positions for a few months, when the Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers on board, injuring dozens of others, and triggering the biggest maritime disaster in recent years.
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