The US government has filed a lawsuit against Beyond Petroleum and several other companies over the oil well disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, which claimed 11 lives earlier this year.
The US has alleged that the BP and its partners violated federal regulations and failed to prevent the April 20 explosion and fire, which destroyed the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig.
The lawsuit, filed in a federal court in New Orleans, is seeking fines and penalties under the Clean Water Act to cover the damage caused by the oil spill.
Though the lawsuit doesn't ask for a specified amount of damages, legal experts said the case could cost the companies tens of billions of dollars in fines, under civil environmental laws.
The filing is only a first step by the White House in a bid to recover billions of pounds from the disaster and the Justice Department's civil investigation and probe of potential criminal violations is continuing.
The defendants in the suit included Transocean Ltd, which owned the Deepwater Horizon, and Anadarko Petroleum Corp, Mitsui & Co Ltd unit MOEX and Transocean's insurer, Lloyds of London.
However, Halliburton, the US contractor responsible for the cementing of the well, and Cameron, another contractor which worked on the well, have not been named.