How safe are energy companies? And how well prepared are they in case of an emergency?

These questions will take centre stage again today as BP’s outgoing chief executive Tony Hayward appears in front of the UK’s energy select committee.

In the months after the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico, the US regulatory agency overseeing the offshore industry was severely criticised for its lax inspection regime. Several serious failures on the Deepwater Horizon were found after the explosion, including dead batteries and insufficiently strong devices that could have shut off oil flow in case of an explosion.

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