Belfast Telegraph

BP ban not that serious

By David Elliott

While the rest of us are trying to start doing business with the world's biggest economy, some more established operators are getting their wrists slapped in a fairly major fashion.

BP's suspension from new contracts with the US government may sound like it's being forced to stand in the corner by the teacher and indeed it will be more embarrassing for the oil giant than it will cause damage. The suspension doesn't apply to its current contracts and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it will lift the ban as soon as it has finished preparing a new agreement over how the company operates within its shores.

But while the suspension may be fairly hollow, the EPA has shown the power that it has to step in when a company is deemed to be not paying enough care to the environment.

BP and other oil majors have been warned - but they still hold the upper hand.

Although not a US company it still has a huge involvement in the oil industry stateside and provides billions of dollars of taxes to the government there each year.

It's unlikely the EPA will want to cut ofF the hand that feeds it for long.

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