British energy giant BP will pay a record fine to settle claims for damages stemming from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The agreement was reached with the Department of Justice and five US states.
The deal announced Monday foresees BP paying a record $20.8 billion (18.6 billion euros) in fines arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which followed an explosion on an offshore rig in the Gulf of Mexico killing 11 workers.
Beaches were blackened and the region's fishing and tourism industries were crippled in a tragedy that rocked the whole nation.
The final settlement with the US Department of Justice and some US states was significantly higher than a previously announced deal in which BP was set to pay $18.7 billion to resolve claims from government entities.
Negotiators made it clear that Monday's deal resolved all civil claims against BP, ending five years of legal fighting over the nearly 134-million-gallon (500-million-liter) spill.
Among other requirements, the British company will be forced to pay $5.5 billion in Clean Water Act penalties and nearly 45 billion to five US Gulf states - Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
BP had earlier already settled with people and businesses harmed by the 2010 disaster. That alone cost the firm close on $6 billion in payouts.
hg/cjc (AFP, AP)