US attorney general Eric Holder is understood to have launched the investigation on the back of demands made by a group of eight politicians to look into BP’s involvement in the spill.
Senator Barbara Boxer, who is understood to be leading the group, wrote to Holder asking the DoJ, which would not confirm the investigation, to determine whether or not BP made misleading statements to the government when it initially made an application to start the Deepwater Horizon drilling.
The Senate is also looking into the government’s role in preventing the spill after grilling interior secretary Ken Salazar yesterday.
BP’s senior executives last week faced questions by the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs over the incident, which has up until recently seen 5,000 barrels of oil spill into the Gulf every day since the 20 April explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig.
A spokesperson from the oil group said: “We will fully co-operate with any investigation.”
News of the investigation hit BP at a time when the group was starting to make progress in plugging up the leak, after it reported that up to 2,000 barrels of oil a day have already been redirected to a ship sitting on the sea’s surface since Sunday.
Costs of the disaster, are inching closer to the $1bn mark with recent costs figures reaching $625 yesterday.
The group has already paid out a $70m grant to Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama states in a bid to help mitigate the economic impact of the spill.
But comments from BP’s chief executive Tony Hayward could spark more flames after he said yesterday that the environmental impact from the oil spill will only be very modest.