Oil spill

The US Government has lifted a ban on British oil firm BP that blocked it from bidding for government contracts, after it agreed to a set of safety, operations and compliance requirements.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and BP have reached an agreement, which will apply for five years, ending the prohibition on bidding for federal contracts on everything from fuel supply contracts to offshore leases.

Under the terms and conditions of the agreement, BP has agreed to a set of safety and operations, ethics and compliance, and corporate governance requirements.

The requirements include those contained in the remedial order stemming from the company’s plea agreement in 2012 with the US Department of Justice and final judgment order with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The government’s ban only affected new contracts, not current deals.

As part of the agreement, the company said it will dismiss the lawsuit filed against the EPA in the federal court in Texas, US, for improper statutory disqualification and suspension.

"The government’s ban only affected new contracts, not current deals."

According to BP, the agreement applies to all of its suspended and debarred entities, including BP exploration and production, BP plc and certain affiliated companies.

BP America chairman and president John Mingé said: "After a lengthy negotiation, BP is pleased to have reached this resolution, which we believe to be fair and reasonable.

"Today’s agreement will allow America’s largest energy investor to compete again for federal contracts and leases."

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in 2010 killed 11 people and caused the worst environmental disaster in US history.

Image: Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010. Photo: courtesy of NASA/GSFC, MODIS Rapid Response AND demis.nl AND FT2.