BP shares barely budge on US contract suspension

BP shares little changed as oil giant downplays temporary suspension of US gov't contracts

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- BP played down a government move to temporarily suspend it from government contracts. So did investors.

BP PLC shares were down marginally in afternoon trading after initially dropping about 2 percent when the Obama administration announced a temporary halt to new federal contracts with the British oil company. BP sought to minimize the effects of the suspension, saying it has been informed by the Environmental Protection Agency that an agreement to resolve the dispute is in the works.

BP shares were down 9 cents at $41.26 after dropping as low as $40.59 in morning trading.

The government suspension, which doesn't affect existing contracts, resulted from the company's "lack of business integrity" and criminal proceedings stemming from the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010, the EPA said.

BP shares were trading around $60 in April 2010 when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion killed 11 workers and set off the biggest offshore oil spill in the nation's history. Although BP settled criminal charges two weeks ago, the possibility of large civil penalties still overhangs the shares.

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