BP has been banned from bidding on new contracts and doing other "new" business in the United States since November of 2012 when the company pleaded guilty to manslaughter and other charges relating to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico that occurred in April of 2010.
BP's ban lasted for 16 months and is noted as one of the longest a company has been banned and suspended by the EPA. BP estimates that they lost approximately $654 million during the ban.
After filing a lawsuit last August to have the ban and suspension lifted, a five-year administrative agreement was signed by BP agreeing to comply with the new set of safety rules and standards in exchange to have the ban lifted.
BP is now free to once again do business in and with the United States government, including on bidding on new oil explorations. The timing is critical, as the EPA will be accepting bids on new oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico next week that covers over 40 million acres off Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana's coasts.