BP sues US government over federal contract suspensions

Posted on 14 Aug 2013

Oil giant BP has launched legal action against the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for barring the British company from federal contacts.

BP pleaded guilty to charges related to the 2010 oil spill after a rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, with the EPA citing the firm’s “lack of integrity” when handing out the ban last November.

The blast killed 11 workers and released an estimated four million barrels of oil into the Gulf.

BP is one of the largest suppliers of fuel to the U.S. government (primarily with the US military), holding contracts worth more than $1.34bn (£867m). The suspension only applies to new contracts and not retroactively to existing deals.

The company filed the law suit claiming it faces a “substantial threat of irreparable harm” unless restrictions are lifted.

“We believe that the EPA’s action here is inappropriate and unjustified as a matter of law and policy, and we are pursuing our right to seek relief in federal court,” said Geoff Morrell, BP’s head of U.S. communications. “At the same time, we remain open to a reasonable settlement with the EPA.”

The claim comes just two weeks after BP chief executive Bob Dudley told reporters the ban was not “causing distress in any way”.