BP today announced that it has entered into an administrative agreement with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), on behalf of the federal government, resolving all matters related to the suspension, debarment and statutory disqualification of BP following the Deepwater Horizon accident and oil spill.
As a result of this agreement, BP is once again eligible to enter into new contracts with the US government, including new deepwater leases in the Gulf of Mexico.
The administrative agreement applies to all of the suspended and debarred BP entities, including BP Exploration & Production Inc., BP p.l.c. and certain affiliated companies.
“After a lengthy negotiation, BP is pleased to have reached this resolution, which we believe to be fair and reasonable,” said John Mingé, Chairman and President of BP America, Inc. “Today’s agreement will allow America’s largest energy investor to compete again for federal contracts and leases.”
Under the terms and conditions of the administrative agreement, which will apply for five years, BP has agreed to a set of safety and operations, ethics and compliance, and corporate governance requirements, including those contained in the remedial order stemming from BP’s 2012 Plea Agreement with the US Department of Justice and Final Judgment Order with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
As part of the administrative agreement, BP will dismiss the lawsuit it filed against the EPA in federal court in Texas for improper statutory disqualification and suspension.
EPA: Fair agreement
“This is a fair agreement that requires BP to improve its practices in order to meet the terms we’ve outlined together,” said Craig Hooks, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Administration and Resources Management. “Many months of discussions and assessments have led up to this point, and I’m confident we’ve secured strong provisions to protect the integrity of federal procurement programs.”
Under the agreement, BP is required to retain an independent auditor approved by EPA who will conduct an annual review and report on BP’s compliance with the agreement. There are also specific provisions addressing ethics compliance, corporate governance, and process safety. The agreement additionally provides EPA the authority to take appropriate corrective action in the event the agreement is breached. EPA coordinated this matter with the Department of Interior, Defense Logistics Agency and U.S. Coast Guard.
Since November 2012, EPA has suspended 25 BP entities and disqualified BP Exploration and Production, Inc. from performing federal contract work at its corporate facility in Houston, Texas, stemming from its criminal conviction in the U.S. Government’s Deepwater Horizon case. Suspensions are issued where there is an immediate need to protect the public interest supported by adequate evidence. The suspension did not affect existing agreements BP had with the government.