June 30: This post has been updated.
In a non-Gulf-related but still BP-related story, the Interior Department’s revamped and rebadged drilling regulatory agency has fined BP America $5.2 million for “false, inaccurate, or misleading” reports about energy production on tribal lands in Colorado.
"It is simply unacceptable for companies to repeatedly misreport production," Michael Bromwich, director of what's now the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, said in a statement on the agency's website. The civil penalty is the first enforcement action taken by the newly named agency, formerly known as the Minerals Management Service.
BP’s errors were caught by Southern Ute tribal auditors who first informed BP America about them in 2007. The company promised to correct the problems, but when the auditors and government regulators checked later, they found some of the same reporting errors, leading them to conclude that the mistakes were “knowing or willful,” according to Bromwich.
When we called BP, a spokeswoman told me the company did not yet have a statement ready.
Update: BP just got back to us with a response. According to spokesman Daren Beaudo, "all of the errors identified as part of this process have been corrected," "a large majority of these errors had no impact on royalty payments," and all royalty adjustments have been made. Beaudo said the company is considering its options, which according to the Interior Department could include contesting the fine in a hearing procedure.