SACRAMENTO (AP) — BP Energy Company is paying California $102 million to settle claims that it overcharged the state for natural gas between 2003 and 2012.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Thursday that BP regularly violated contracts with the state to provide gas for numerous state agencies and other governments by exceeding the agreed-upon price cap.

He says the company concealed the overcharges by providing false and misleading information.

Becerra says company employees saw California as a “golden goose.”

BP, the largest natural gas marketer in North America, says the state’s allegations are without merit.

The investigation began in 2012 with a former employee’s complaint alleging the overcharges.

The $102 million will be shared between the state and local agencies that bought natural gas through the state Department of General Services.

© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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