Eleven crew members died and millions of barrels of oil were released into the ocean when BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded.
“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 chief executive, said in a statement printed by the Washington Post.
“From the outset, we stepped up by responding to the spill, paying legitimate claims and funding restoration efforts in the Gulf. We apologize for our role in the accident, and as today’s resolution with the US. government further reflects, we have accepted responsibility for our actions.”
The total bill for the oil spill will be the most expensive in history. The Exxon Valdez spill in 1989 ultimately cost Exxon $1 billion in damages, which would be equal to about $1.8 billion today.
The largest portion of the payment, $4 billion, will go mainly to government environmental agencies and will be paid over five years,reported the New York Times.
The company will admit criminal wrongdoing over 11 felony counts of misconduct or neglect of ships’ officers relating to the deaths of 11 crew members on the drilling rig that caught fire and sank.
A law enforcement official familiar with the case told The New York Times that two BP employees would be charged with manslaughter in the case.
In addition, BP will plead guilty to one misdemeanor count under the Clean Water Act; one misdemeanor count under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act; and one felony count of obstruction of Congress.
The settlement announced Thursday is separate from a March agreement in which BP said it will pay out $7.8 billion in damages to affected parties, reported NBC News.