A scathing report will be released today that criticizes safety and management practices at BP’s American operations, after an investigation at a Texas refinery nearly two years ago which killed 15 people and injured more than 170 others.

The report, by James Baker, the former US Secretary of State, will state: “BP has not always ensured that it identified and provided the resources required for strong process safety performance at its US refineries.’’

It calls on the board of directors to make sure standards are improved. The findings are certain to be used against the company in the many outstanding civil cases against BP and could be seized upon by the grand jury investigating whether to bring criminal charges over the explosion.

The Financial Times details how the report had identified safety culture problems across the North American refining organization. BP was given the report last Wednesday, two days before the announcement that Lord Browne, its much-feted chief executive, was to stand down early, to be replaced by Tony Hayward, head of exploration and production, one of Browne’s young “ninja turtles”.

Hayward is expected to instigate a management reshuffle at the top of BP, including to find his own successor, the new head of exploration and the second most important job in the organisation.

Merrill Lynch, the US investment bank, said that Mr Hayward will use the opportunity to make a break with the past. “(The succession) provides a platform for BP to turn around what has become a de-rated management and operational story,” the bank said.

Stilll Sir John will walk off with a pension of over $40 million with $20 million in shares.

Not bad eh?