BP Sues Over US Ban On Contracts After Explosion
BP is to take the US government to court over its ban on the company bidding for new federal contracts in the country, following the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
The lawsuit, filed in Texas, claims keeping the ban in place risks causing the company "irreparable harm" while at the same time hurting 21 subsidiaries which had nothing to do with the accident in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) initiated the ban on BP last November, citing the company's "lack of business integrity" in the wake of the rig explosion - which killed 11 workers - and the resulting oil spill.
The suspension only affects new contracts, not existing deals.
BP is currently one of the largest suppliers of fuel to the US government, including to the military, holding contracts worth more than $1.34bn (£867m), according to the suit.
The oil company's US spokesman said in a statement: "We believe that the EPA's action here is inappropriate and unjustified as a matter of law and policy, and we are pursuing our right to seek relief in federal court.
"At the same time, we remain open to a reasonable settlement with the EPA."
Bob Dudley, BP's chief executive, told investors in the second quarter that the company had plenty of work that was ongoing in the Gulf despite the ban but said the EPA order bars it from taking possession of new leases there.
The company is currently paying out millions of dollars to settle damage claims from Gulf residents in a contentious process that BP says is being mismanaged by the administrator.
Last week a judge ordered BP to pay $130m to the administrator's team despite objections from the oil company, which is also facing the second phase of a trial in federal court to determine fines for environmental harm caused by the spill.
BP has incurred about $42.4bn in charges related to the disaster.