British oil giant BP won 24 bids to begin offshore exploration in the Gulf of Mexico this week, just days after federal authorities lifted a ban imposed against the company for its involvement in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill off the coast of Louisiana. As Reuters reports, BP submitted 31 bids ahead of Wednesday’s auction in New Orleans, held by the US Interior Department. Its 24 winning bids are valued at $41.6 billion, though competitors Shell, Chevron, and Freeport McMoRan submitted winning bids that are worth more.
BP had been barred from bidding on new federal contracts for over a year following the Deepwater Horizon spill, but the ban was lifted last week after the company struck an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Under the agreement, BP will implement stronger safety and corporate governance rules, and will be monitored by an EPA-approved independent auditor over the next five years. BP had filed a lawsuit against the EPA to have the ban lifted, but will now drop the suit as part of this month’s agreement.
BP’s business in the Gulf of Mexico has dramatically declined since the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, which led to the worst offshore oil spill in US history.
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