BP faces huge claims covering the billions of dollars in civil penalties the U.S. government and the Gulf states are seeking because of environmental damage. A trial is scheduled for early next year, although negotiations to reach a settlement have been under way. Attorney General Eric Holder has said the government intends to show in the civil case that BP was grossly negligent in causing the spill.
Shares of BP PLC, the parent company, initially dropped on the New York Stock Exchange when the Obama administration announced the suspension, but had recovered by the close of trading Wednesday.
‘‘How big this is depends on how long it lasts,’’ said Phil Weiss, an analyst at Argus Research, adding that if BP misses out on multiple sales of public lands, ‘‘it’s a much bigger concern.’’
Associated Press writers Bob Barr in London, Jonathan Fahey in New York and Pete Yost in Washington contributed to this report.
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