British energy giant BP said on Thursday it was in advanced discussions to settle open criminal and regulatory cases with US authorities over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster.
“BP confirms that it is in advanced discussions with the United States Department of Justice and the Securities & Exchange Commission regarding proposed resolutions of all US federal government criminal and SEC claims against BP in connection with the Deepwater Horizon incident,” said a statement.
“No final agreements have yet been reached and any resolutions, if agreed, would be subject to federal court approvals in the United States.”
The British firm added that the proposed resolutions are not expected to cover federal civil claims, including damages under the Clean Water Act, federal and state natural resources damages claims or outstanding private civil claims.
“A further announcement will be made if and when final agreements are reached. Until final agreements are reached, there can be no certainty any such resolutions will be entered into,” it said.
The London-listed group’s reputation was ravaged two and a half years ago after an explosion on the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 workers and sent millions of barrels of oil spewing into the sea.
The blast on April 20, 2010, sank the rig and unleashed the biggest marine oil spill in the industry’s history — and what has widely acknowledged to be the worst US environmental disaster ever.
Earlier this year, BP reached an agreement to settle claims from fishermen and others affected by the disaster for $7.8 billion, but it must be approved by a federal judge and does not affect claims brought by the government.
BP has so far sold assets totalling more than $35 billion to help cover compensation costs arising from the tragedy, a figure set to reach $38 billion by the end of 2013.