US prosecutors are readying criminal charges against British oil giant BP employees over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident that led to the catastrophic Gulf oil spill, The Wall Street Journal reported online.
The charges if brought and prosecuted by the US Justice Department would be the first criminal charges over the disaster.
Citing sources close to the matter, the Journal said the prosecutors are focusing on US-based BP engineers and at least one supervisor who they say may have provided false information to regulators on the risks of deep water drilling in the Gulf.
Felony charges for providing false information in federal documents may be made public early next year, said the Journal.
A conviction on that charge would carry a fine and up to five years in prison, the newspaper said.
The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) has already issued a second list of violations regarding BP’s operation of the Macondo well that blew out in April 2010, causing the worst maritime environmental disaster in history.
The US drilling safety agency has said it determined BP had failed to conduct an accurate pressure integrity test in one area of the well.