Justice Department probes whether BP execs lied to Congress: WSJ

NEW YORK Mon May 28, 2012 9:49pm EDT

Smoke billows from a controlled burn of spilled oil off the Louisiana coast in the Gulf of Mexico coast line June 13, 2010. REUTERS/Sean Gardner

Smoke billows from a controlled burn of spilled oil off the Louisiana coast in the Gulf of Mexico coast line June 13, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Sean Gardner

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department is investigating whether BP executives lied to Congress about how much oil leaked in the company's 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing people familiar with the investigation.

According to the Journal, prosecutors are looking into statements the company made to members of Congress at a closed-door briefing of members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee by officials from BP, Halliburton Co. and Transocean Ltd.

Dave Nagel, the executive vice president of BP America, and David Rainey, the company's former head of Gulf of Mexico exploration, were involved in the briefing, the Journal said.

The Journal also said the Justice Department had investigated whether BP engineers tried to keep information about the actual size of the leak from the government.

The April 20, 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig killed 11 workers and triggered the largest U.S. offshore oil spill from the ruptured Macondo well, in which BP held a 65 percent stake.

Transocean owned the rig, and Halliburton provided cementing services. About 4.1 million barrels of oil were spilled and not cleaned up, the U.S. government has estimated.

The Justice Department and BP could not be immediately reached for comment.

(Reporting by Michael Erman; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner)

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