HOUSTON (AP) - An internal report by BP PLC about its deadly 2005 Texas City plant explosion recommended that four executives and managers be fired for failing to perform their jobs and demonstrating poor judgment.
The report, which had been confidential but was released by court order on Thursday, also concluded the accountability of John Manzoni, BP's top refinery executive, should be reviewed by the company after he ''failed to implement his duties'' and didn't ''carry out his responsibilities.''
The report was released two days after the resignation of BP Chief Executive John Browne, who stepped down when a judge lifted a legal injunction that had prevented a newspaper from publishing details of his private life.
The February report singled out four managers who ''failed to perform their management accountabilities in significant ways:'' Mike Hoffman, BP's group vice president for refining and marketing; Pat Gower, U.S. refining vice president; Don Parus, the Texas City refinery manager; and Willie Willis, a plant supervisor.
Hoffman has resigned. The others are still employed by the company, according to the report.
BP spokesman Neil Chapman said the company would not discuss specific contents of the report, including what will happen to the managers or to Manzoni, who is chief executive of BP refining and marketing.
The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB), one of several agencies that investigated the accident, found that BP fostered bad management at the plant. The CSB also said cost-cutting moves by BP were factors in the explosion.
Brent Coon, an attorney representing many of the workers injured during the blast, said the report validates the theory that management, not low-level workers, should be held responsible for what happened.
''BP knew about it and chose not to do anything,'' said Coon, who had fought BP to have the report released. ''We hope the entire industry learns from this.''
The March 2005 explosion killed 15 people and injured more than 170 workers. The blast has so far cost the company around $2 billion in compensation payouts, repairs and lost profit.
The Texas City explosion occurred when part of the plant's isomerization unit, which boosts the level of octane in gasoline, overfilled with highly flammable liquid hydrocarbons. A geyser-like release of flammable liquid and vapor ignited as the unit started up. Alarms and gauges that should have warned of the overfilling equipment failed to work at the plant about 40 miles southeast of Houston.
BP's report said there were management failures from the isomerization unit all the way up to the refining and marketing segment of the company, which Manzoni runs.
''A culture that evolved over the years seemed to ignore risk, tolerated noncompliance, and accepted incompetence ...,'' the report said.
Each of the four managers were cited for various failures. Gower was faulted for not initiating appropriate changes at the plant after being aware of such problems as unreported fires and leaks, and Parus was blamed for emphasizing personal safety over process safety.
Don Riddle, an attorney for Parus, did not immediately return a telephone call Thursday seeking comment.
The report said Manzoni was informed about safety risks as the plant, including several reports and presentations about previous accidents and fatalities.
''Process safety did not have the same priority, at least, as commercial issues for John, and there were important performance gaps from a management accountability perspective concerning his actions (or inactions),'' the report said.
But BP also said that none of the management accountability failings the report identified caused the accident.
''The team found no evidence that anyone acted in bad faith or violated BP's Code of Conduct,'' Chapman said.
But Coon said this report and others released by BP and agencies that have investigated the accident show the company was aware of problems at the refinery but chose to ignore them.
''Executives all the way up to Manzoni were routinely being briefed on it but did nothing about it,'' he said.
Coon also said that with this week's resignation of Browne, he has given notice he will try to depose the former chief executive in Houston on Wednesday about what he knew of problems at the plant. Coon doesn't expect Browne will appear.
Browne, who turned BP into one of the world's top energy companies, resigned after he admitted lying to a judge when he tried to block a newspaper from printing allegations made by a former boyfriend that he misused company resources.
Efforts to question Browne have been on hold pending a ruling by the Texas Supreme Court after BP blocked the deposition. Coon said he filed a motion with the court Wednesday asking it to dismiss BP's appeal because Browne is no longer the chief executive.
Chapman said the Texas Supreme Court order staying Browne's deposition still remains in effect.
BP has said Browne does not have unique knowledge about what caused the explosion.