BP to settle US air pollution dispute for $400 million

British oil and gas giant BP has reached an agreement with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to settle the air pollution issues at BP's multi-billion Whiting refinery modernisation project in northwest Indiana.

Under the terms, BP will implement a number of pollution abatement measures at the refinery to control the noxious gases, fumes and dust emissions at a cost of over $400 million. The agreement also settles allegation of air emissions at the Whiting refinery.

BP Products North America's president Steve Cornell said: ''We are pleased to have reached an agreement that protects jobs, consumers, and the environment.''

''This is the largest private-sector investment in Indiana history and ensures the Whiting Refinery will continue to provide fuel and jobs for the region for decades to come. In fact, we will be employing 10,000 BP and contractor staff on site this year,'' Cornell said.

The control measures at the refinery include a state-of-the-art system to reduce the flaring of refinery gas as well as additional controls and practices to lower emissions from process equipment throughout the refinery, the company said in a statement.

BP also has agreed to pay a total of $8 million in civil fines that cover allegations of air emissions violations since 2001. In addition, BP will implement a refinery fence line monitoring system to provide air quality information to the local community.