US government bans new BP contracts

29th November 2012

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The US is refusing to agree any new government oil and gas exploration contracts with BP following the firm's prosecution over the Deepwater Horizon disaster

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), BP no longer meets the required standards to work for the government and will not be allowed to apply for new contracts or grants until it can demonstrate it is a “responsible business”.

In a statement, the EPA described the oil giant as lacking in “integrity” and cited the criminal negligence of the firm, which resulted in the Deepwater Horizon explosion killing 11 people and releasing 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

The news follows BP being ordered to pay $4 billion in penalties, after pleading guilty to 14 criminal offences related to the accident, including that of neglect of its staff and obstructing the US congress as well as breaches of legislation relating to migratory birds and water pollution.

In response to the EPA’s announcement, BP said it had already submitted a responsibility statement of more than 100 pages to the agency and was confident that an agreement could be reached soon to lift the suspension.

The firm also said it had made significant improvements since the Deepwater Horizon explosion, including key leadership changes, creating a centralised safety and operational risk organisation, and adopting voluntary deepwater drilling standards in the Gulf of Mexico that exceed current regulatory requirements.


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