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U.S. Allows Oil Giant BP Back Into Gulf Four Years After Spill

/ Source: Reuters
Oil burned on the surface of the Gulf after the Deepwater Horizon disaster in June, 2010. Washington has lifted a ban on oil giant BP bidding for contracts, allowing the British company to renew offshore operations in the Gulf four years after the biggest oil spill in U.S. history.Dave Martin / AP

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The U.S. government has lifted a ban that excluded oil giant BP from new federal contracts, after the British company filed a lawsuit saying it was being unfairly penalized for its 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill.

The Environmental Protection Agency and BP said they reached an agreement ending the prohibition on bidding for federal contracts on everything from fuel supply contracts to offshore leases after the company committed to a set of safety, ethical and corporate governance requirements.

Washington hit BP with the suspension in November 2012, citing its "lack of business integrity," after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion killed 11 workers and gushed million of barrels of oil into coastal waters, the worst offshore oil disaster in U.S. history.

The ban only affected new contracts, not existing deals, and BP filed last August to overturn it.

BP is one of the largest suppliers of fuel to the U.S. government, including to the military, holding contracts worth more than $1.34 billion. It is also a significant holder of leases in the Gulf of Mexico, which has seen a surge in new crude production.

Despite the settlement with the EPA, BP is still paying out millions of dollars to settle damage claims from Gulf residents in a contentious process that BP has said is being mismanaged by the administrator.

- Reuters

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