BP pledges cooperation after US files suit

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BP pledged on Wednesday to cooperate with the United States after the government filed a suit against the energy giant for damages caused by this year's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

"BP will answer the government's allegations in a timely manner and will continue to cooperate with all government investigations and inquiries," said the firm in a statement.

BP, one of nine companies named in the complaint filed by the Justice Department with a federal court in New Orleans, stressed it had already made great efforts towards cleaning up the devastating spill.

"Alone among the parties, BP has stepped up to pay for the clean-up of the oil, setting aside 20 billion dollars to pay all legitimate claims," it said in the statement.

"We took these steps before any legal determination of responsibility and will continue to fulfil our commitments in the Gulf as the legal process unfolds."

It further pointed out that the filing of the suit was "solely a statement of the government's allegations."

The filing "does not in any manner constitute any finding of liability or any judicial finding that the allegations have merit," added the company.

BP, the world's third largest oil company, has been selling off assets around the world to raise 30 billion dollars to cover both the clean-up and compensation costs of the spill. It has estimated its exposure at nearly 40 billion dollars.

Attorney General Eric Holder said the complaint alleged that "violations of safety and operational regulations" caused the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig, which sent nearly five millions of barrels of oil gushing into the Gulf.

© 2010 AFP

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