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BP Preparing for Criminal Charges over Gulf Oil Spill

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The Wall Street Journal reports that U.S. Prosecutors are preparing possible criminal charges against BP PLC employees for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Several Houston-based engineers and one British oil supervisor are under scrutiny in an ongoing investigation, for possibly providing false information to regulators about the risks with the Deepwater Horizon well while it was in the process of drilling, sources close to the matter told the WSJ.

If felony charges are brought, those convicted could face up to five years in prison and a possible fine.

For the past 18 months, a New Orleans-based federal task force has been investigating the spill, conducting interviews and reviewing thousands of pages of documents. Some individuals involved have already been brought before a grand jury. Key safety measures involved in deep water drilling have been scrutinized, including the margin between the minimum amount of pressure needed to bore a well, and how much pressure would break apart the formation. This information is included by companies on drilling permits. If the company is not able to maintain drilling procedures within that safety margin, drilling is supposed to be suspended until the problem can be remedied.

Those familiar with the investigation said that prosecutors are questioning whether information used in amended drilling permits for the Deepwater Horizon well accurately reflected the safety margin. disclaimer: This article: BP Preparing for Criminal Charges over Gulf Oil Spill was posted on Friday, December 30th, 2011 at 2:56 am at and is filed under Toxic Substances Lawsuits.

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