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BP out in cold after Deepwater Horizon

One of Britain’s most iconic global companies has seen its reputation plummet. BP now faces ignominious exclusion by the US government in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

BP’s hapless attempts to deal with the disaster and its subsequent attempts to atone by throwing money at the issue have not been received well in the US. The Barack Obama administration has ceased all federal contracts with BP and disqualified it indefinitely from lobbying for new leases on US state-owned land. The British company was criticised for a "lack of business integrity".

The fallout from the 2010 spill could go further than the US and turn BP into the pariah of the global oil industry. Eleven oil workers were killed in the rig explosion that resulted in the largest oil spill in U.S. history. BP is still embroiled in numerous civil and criminal legal actions and the latest decision by the Environmental Protection Agency makes it even harder to foresee a way back into the industry mainstream for BP.

Although BP has changed personnel at the highest levels, the Obama administration is unimpressed by BP’s reaction to Deepwater Horizon. The decision came at a crucial time, with the US government selling leases for further drilling for oil and natural gas in the Gulf.

Energy expert Amy Myers Jaffe told the Washington Post that the decision, "is going to send a chill down the spine of the chairman of every company that operates in the United States, because it means if you don’t get this safety question correctly, it can really dramatically affect your business."

With BP shares being one of the keystone investments in many major UK company pension plans, the news is not just bad for the company, but for many Britons approaching retirement.

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