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BP Sues Uncle Sam over EPA Suspension on New Federal Contracts

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Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

BP plc, responding to a U.S. government decision last November to bar the company from federal contracts to supply fuel and services, has sued the U.S. government, according to a story by Reuters.

The suit was filed in a Houston District Court, and makes the claim that the federal ban is causing the company “irreparable harm.”

This is the latest chapter in a saga that began in April, 2010, when the BP-owned Macondo well blew out off the coast of Louisiana.

The British energy giant said that the decision by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to bar them from the federal contracts is “an abuse of discretion.”

For its part, the EPA cited BP for a “lack of business integrity” because of the well blowout.

BP and the EPA were in negotiations on a possible contract for BP when the federal agency issued the debarment. BP is asking for a judge to order the EPA to lift the suspension, and to allow BP to bid for government contracts.

BP pleaded guilty to manslaughter, as well as to obstruction of Congress and other criminal charges related to the blowout and subsequent rig explosion Jan. 29. BP then negotiated with the Justice Department to pay a penalty of $4 billion.

While pleading guilty meant that BP would have to come to an agreement with the EPA before the suspension applied to them on government contracts is lifted, BP believes that because the criminal case was resolved, the suspension should have been lifted without further delay.

The suspension applies to new contracts only; existing ones are not affected. However, keeping BP from bidding for government contracts has kept if off the playing field and has cost it a shot at business deals with the government that could be worth billions of dollars.

Gene Lockard has more than a decade of journalism experience covering the energy and petrochemical industries. Email Gene at


Post a Comment Generated by readers, the comments included herein do not reflect the views and opinions of Rigzone. All comments are subject to editorial review. Off-topic, inappropriate or insulting comments will be removed.
Charles | Aug. 26, 2013
Maybe BP should divest all properties in the GOM and look for oil in other places where there is more oil and less corruption (e.g. Nigeria, Kazakhstan, etc.) There seems to be no end to the absurb suits and payouts that are penalizing the company which tried to "do the right thing." Clearly the lesson here is the heck with trying to do the right thing, better to lawyer up and drag it out for decades.

Lou Tepe | Aug. 22, 2013
BP is a British company, true, however, its U.S. Gulf Coast oil & gas assets are from Amoco, via aquisition. As a long term Amoco, aka BP shareholder, Im mad as hell for the "cancellation of dividends" in order to pay "criminal and civil charges" by US. Fact : 38% of BP current shareholders are U.S. based and are, therefore, penalizing ourselves; the height of stupidity. I have a better idea to provide restitution for those businesses claiming losses from the Deepwater Horizon incident by offering a choice natural gas to electric utility option to any LA business or residence served by a nat gas regulated utility - to be named MYutility. Note to Bob Dudley, BP CEO: URGENT you conact me!!

aarvaark | Aug. 15, 2013
If this had been American company the whole reaction from the administration from Obama down would have bee totally different.

Andre'' | Aug. 14, 2013
Ive never witnessed any company other than BP thats worked so hard to make restitution to all parties harmed by the Deepwater Horizon tragedy. The executives within BP made the right moral decision to immediately step up to the plate and help all parties harmed by this incident. BP could have easily kept their money in the bank and let this be fought out in the courts for many years to come only enriching the trial lawyers and bringing harm to the true victims of this tragedy. Its time for the public and the government to recognize that the wise and prudent thing to do is to allow BP to move forward and operate as a company in good standing. Enough is Enough!

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