BP pays out $4.5bn over Gulf of Mexico oil spill

Oil giant BP has agreed to settle a number of US federal government criminal and Securities & Exchange Commission claims over the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and is to pay out $4.5bn in its resolution.

The resolution will allow it to concentrate on civil claims, the oil giant says.

BP has agreed to plead guilty to 11 felony counts relating to the loss of 11 lives, one misdemeanour count under the US Clean Water Act, one under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and one felony count obstruction of Congress.

Group chief executive Bob Dudley says: “We apologise for our role in the accident, and as today’s resolution with the US government further reflects, we have accepted responsibility for our actions.”

BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg says: “We believe this resolution is in the best interest of BP and its shareholders. It removes two significant legal risks and allows us to vigorously defend the company against the remaining civil claims.”

BP is to pay $4bn, including $1.256 billion in criminal fines, in installments over a period of five years. The oil giant has also resolved the Securities & Exchange Commision’s Deepwater Horizon-related claims, paying a civil penalty of $525m, to be payed over three years.

It will pay $2.4bn to the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation and $350m to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), both over a period of five years.

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010 was the largest offshore oil spill in US history and led to the deaths of 11 people and millions of barrels of oil being released into the Gulf of Mexico.

BP is held by a large number of UK fund managers, as a constituent of the FTSE 100.