BP Plc announced Thursday that it reached agreement with the U.S. government to pay $4.5 billion for the explosion of an oil drilling platform and the subsequent spilling 4.9 million barrels of crude into the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010.
The Britain-based oil giant will also plead guilty to several criminal charges for the deaths of 11 workers in the blast aboard the Deepwater Horizon.
"All of us at BP deeply regret the tragic loss of life caused by the Deepwater Horizon accident as well as the impact of the spill on the Gulf coast region," Bob Dudley, BP's Group Chief Executive, said in a statement.
BP also said that it will add $3.85 billion to the reserve it had created with $38.1 billion to handle civil claims resulting from the biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. history.
The greater part of the amounts paid as fines, $2.4 billion, will go to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation as compensation for work to restore the coastal areas in the Gulf of Mexico in the wake of the spill.
Another $350 million will be allocated to the National Academy of Sciences for its research into the effects of the spill that over the course of 87 days gushed almost five million barrels of petroleum into the Gulf.
The agreement, if it is accepted by a federal judge, still will not put an end to possible lawsuits resulting from the spill. BP and its partners in deepwater oil exploration could still remain targets for civil charges filed by the Justice Department. EFE