BP's ready for new U.S. energy contracts, official says

Feb. 24, 2014 at 6:01 AM

NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- British energy company BP is close to getting relief from a 2012 ban on new oil contracts secured through the U.S. government, a company official said.

The U.S Environmental Protection Agency

barred BP from bidding on new contracts after the company pleaded guilty to environmental crimes in a major 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

John Minge, president of BP's subsidiary in the United States, told investors in Louisiana things were about to change, the Daily Telegraph in London reported Saturday.

"We're working with the Environmental Protection Agency. I think we're getting closer to an agreement," he was quoted as saying.

BP wasn't prohibited from working on existing contracts in the region.

In December, the company said it was appraising a discovery in the Gila prospect in the U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico, its first since the 2010 spill.

When it announced the discovery, BP said Gila marked the company's return to the region.

On April 20, 2010, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which BP leased from Transocean, killed 11 workers and caused approximately 2.5 million barrels of oil to spill into the gulf.

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