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    BP, plaintiffs reach $7.8B Gulf spill settlement
    After nearly two years of litigation, British Petroleum able to reach deal with plaintiffs in Gulf of Mexico disaster

    BP PLC and a committee representing plaintiffs suing over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill have reached an agreement, a federal judge said late Friday night. Specific terms have not been released.


    As a result of the agreement, the trial that was scheduled to begin Monday has been postponed for a second time, Judge Carl Barbier said. No new date was immediately set.  



    The oil spill was cause after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, off the Louisiana shore, in April 2010, killing 11 workers, injuring 15 and spewing more than 200 million gallons of oil from an undersea well owned by BP. The rig, owned by Transocean Ltd, sank two days later.


    The spill soiled sensitive tidal estuaries and beaches, killing wildlife and shutting vast areas of the Gulf to commercial fishing. 


    The Deepwater Horizon explosion was the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry.


    US President Barack Obama called the spill "the worst environmental disaster the United States has ever faced."


    BP established a $20 billion claims fund to resolve many claims out of court. As of January 17, the Gulf Coast Claims Facility has paid out nearly $6 billion from the fund to more than 569,000 individuals and businesses.


    BP waived a $75 million cap on its liability for certain economic damage claims under the 1990 Oil Pollution Act, though it denied any gross negligence.


    "From the beginning, BP stepped up to meet our obligations to the communities in the Gulf Coast region, and we've worked hard to deliver on that commitment for nearly two years,” said Bob Dudley, BP Group CEO in a statement.


    "The proposed settlement represents significant progress toward resolving issues from the Deepwater Horizon accident and contributing further to economic and environmental restoration efforts along the Gulf Coast."




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    Gulf of Mexico oil spill
    Photo: AP