WASHINGTON – The British oil company BP Plc and its affiliates have been suspended from new contracts with the U.S. government due to the criminal charges in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Wednesday.
Earlier this month, BP plead guilty to criminal misconduct in the Gulf of Mexico disaster, the worst oil spill in U.S. history, and agreed to pay record penalties of $4.5 billion.
The temporary contract suspension stems from those charges, the EPA said.
"Federal executive branch agencies take these actions to ensure the integrity of federal programs by conducting business only with responsible individuals or companies. Suspensions are a standard practice when a responsibility question is raised by action in a criminal case," the EPA said in a statement.
In London, BP had no immediate comment. The company recognized the risk that it could be banned from U.S. government contracts when it agreed earlier this month to plead guilty to criminal charges over the spill, but it said at the time that it had not received any indication that government departments would go ahead with such a ban.
(Reporting By Jonathan Leff and Karey Wutkowski; additional reporting by Andrew Callus in London and Roberta Rampton in Washington; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and John Wallace)