The Environmental Protection Agency is ending BP's suspension from receiving new federal contracts that was imposed after the oil giant agreed to guilty pleas over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico rig explosion and spill.
But there are a few strings attached to removal of the sanction imposed in late 2012. According to EPA's announcement Thursday, the five-year agreement has specific provisions on BP's "ethics compliance, corporate governance, and process safety."
"This is a fair agreement that requires BP to improve its practices in order to meet the terms we've outlined together," EPA Assistant Administrator of Administration and Resources Craig Hooks said in a statement Thursday.
According to EPA, the deal requires BP to retain an EPA-approved auditor who will conduct an annual review and report on BP's compliance.
BP, a major fuel supplier to the Defense Department, has been battling the suspension in court while it negotiated with EPA. The company is dropping the lawsuit.
BP noted Thursday that the agreement will enable the company to again enter into new deepwater drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico.
The April 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster killed 11 workers and touched off a months-long spill that eventually dumped more than 4 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.