The board of BP ( appointed L. Duane Wilson as the independent expert, who will monitor progress in implementing the recommendations of the Baker Panel to improve safety performance at BP”s five U.S. refineries. BP”s U.S. refineries have been under scrutiny since an explosion and fire at BP’s Texas City, Texas refinery resulted in 15 fatalities in March 2005.

The panel, an independent body chaired by former U.S. Secretary of State, James A. Baker, III, was established by BP on the recommendation of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board to examine safety management systems at the BP”s U.S. refineries and corporate safety culture. Mr. Wilson was one of the panel”s 11 members.

The panel”s report, published in January 2007, contained 10 recommendations, all of which BP is in the process of implementing, according to the company. The recommendations are designed to improve process safety performance at the U.S. refineries. These included an undertaking to appoint an independent expert for a period of at least five years to monitor and report annually on the progress of such implementations.

Mr. Wilson is a retired vice president for ConocoPhillips. Mr. Wilson will report to the Chairman of the BP board”s Safety, Ethics and Environmental Assurance Committee (SEEAC), which will produce a publicly available report based on his assessment of progress in implementing the panel”s recommendations at BP”s U.S. refineries.

To read the Baker Report in full, click here.