Washington/New Delhi: BP Plc has agreed to pay a criminal penalty of USD 4.5 billion in penalties and plead guilty over the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico off the US coast, as per media reports.
As per reports, the criminal fine is the largest such levy in US history. A settlement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission is also part of the deal, as are payments to the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation and the National Academy of Sciences.
The April, 2010 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 workers.
The well on the sea floor spewed an estimated 206 million gallons of crude oil, soiling sensitive tidal estuaries and beaches, killing wildlife and shutting vast areas of the Gulf to commercial fishing.
The spill exposed lax government oversight and led to a temporary ban on deepwater drilling while officials and the oil industry studied the risks, worked to make it safer and developed better disaster plans.
BP's environmentally friendly image was tarnished, and independent gas station owners who fly the BP flag claimed they lost business from customers who were upset over the spill.
The oil company said Thursday it would plead guilty to 11 felony counts related to the workers' deaths, a felony related to obstruction of Congress and two misdemeanors.
With Agency Inputs
First Published: Thursday, November 15, 2012, 23:23