Transportation safety

We work to safely transport our people and equipment to our sites, and fuel to our customers

BP is a global business with operations in remote locations so safe transportation of our people and products is an important focus area for us.

Driving safety

Driving safety is a priority because vehicle-related incidents remain one of the key risks facing our industry. In 2015 alone, BP employees and contractors drove nearly 600 million kilometres, which is the equivalent of 15,000 journeys around the world. Transporting fuel from refineries to service stations, and other downstream activities, account for most of these kilometres.

We rely on a variety of metrics to monitor our driving safety performance. For example, we track our severe vehicle accident rate, which includes accidents that result in death, injury, a spill, a vehicle rollover or serious vehicle damage. We also track our total vehicle accident rate, which is the sum of all on-road and off-road motor vehicle accidents per million kilometres driven. In 2015 there were 637 reported vehicle accidents, and four third-party fatalities.

We provide guidance on road safety, including what constitutes a fit-for-purpose vehicle and the need to wear a seatbelt. We tailor our programmes to the local context and where possible we work to extend the reach of BP programmes to local communities. 

We share lessons learned from incidents globally and we have seen a significant decline over the past 10 years in the number of vehicle-related fatalities associated with our work. However, two countries where we have seen workforce and third-party fatalities over the past five years are Brazil and South Africa. We have been using in-vehicle camera technology to record potentially risky driving behaviours and using the video clips as a coaching aid to improve driving technique. Drivers in our lubricants business in South Africa managed on average to halve the number of video clips requiring coaching in the month following their first intervention, with a consistent decline in the months that followed.

Total vehicle accident rate (per million kilometres driven)

Severe vehicle accident rate (per million kilometres driven)

We will be adopting a new severe vehicle accident rate definition for 2016 reporting to align with industry practice.

Rail safety

Our sites receive oil and gas products delivered by rail using both BP-owned or leased, and third-party rail cars. Much of this is in the US where our use of railways has increased following our modernization project at Whiting refinery and the construction of a new rail terminal at our Cherry Point refinery. For example, at Cherry Point we receive on average 45 thousand barrels of crude oil by rail per day.

Our railcars have enhanced safety features such as insulation to protect cargo in the event of a fire, and a protective shell to defend against puncturing and resulting spills or releases.

Aviation safety

We use a variety of aircraft, often in challenging conditions. Our safety requirements cover the approval of aviation operators, contracting for aviation services, and the safe management of any aircraft operated on behalf of BP. 

There have been a number of incidents involving helicopters in the North Sea over the past few years. Oil and gas companies, helicopter suppliers and regulators have collectively analysed these events and as a result, the oil and gas industry is using enhanced emergency breathing systems for offshore helicopter passengers in the UK and is evaluating plans for a wider roll out of these systems.

We have entered into aircraft sharing agreements in the Gulf of Mexico, Norway and Trinidad & Tobago in an effort to reduce the number of aircraft and flights required. We are continuing to explore similar types of arrangements in other geographic areas where this strategy could be implemented.

Shipping safety

We transport our products across oceans, around coastlines and along waterways, using a combination of BP-operated and chartered vessels. All are subject to our health, safety, security and environmental requirements.

To help avoid major spills, all ships in our managed international fleet are double-hulled. We continue to invest in our fleet, for example, 28 deep sea oil tankers and six LNG tankers are on order and planned for delivery into the BP-operated fleet between 2016 and 2019. We have marine assurance requirements for all oil and gas transport vessels that we hire for specific periods or voyages.

BP seeks to avoid known areas of pirate attack or armed robbery. Where this is not possible, we will continue to transit vessels through these areas, adopting heightened security measures.


The information on this page forms part of the information reviewed and reported on by Ernst & Young as part of BP's 2015 sustainability reporting. View the full assurance statement.

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