ATP sues U.S. government over offshore-drilling suspension

ATP Oil & Gas Corp. sued the U.S. government for suspending offshore drilling after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico rig explosion and oil spill, alleging the moratorium cost the company more than $68 million.

The government “improperly and illegally” suspended all offshore drilling and “unlawfully delayed” the issuance of permits once the ban was lifted, ATP said in a lawsuit filed yesterday in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington.

“ATP has incurred significant financing costs to obtain working capital to replace revenue ATP lost from delayed production,” according to the Houston-based company’s complaint, which seeks more than $68 million in damages.

Charles Miller, a Justice Department spokesman, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

An April 20, 2010, explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, owned by Transocean Ltd., killed 11 workers and prompted the U.S. to halt deep-water drilling for seven months.

ATP climbed 14 percent to $4.58 at 11:45 a.m. in New York. The shares had fallen 75 percent in the year through yesterday.

The case is ATP Oil & Gas Corp. v. U.S., 12-00379, U.S. Court of Federal Claims (Washington).