BP's $5.5 billion plea deal over US oil spill approved by judge
CHICAGO (AFP) - A US judge on Tuesday approved a US$4.5 billion (S$5.5 billion) deal in which BP pleaded guilty to criminal charges from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill - but the British energy giant's legal woes are far from over.
BP is set to return to the Louisiana courthouse on Feb 25 for a mammoth trial consolidating scores of remaining lawsuits stemming from the worst environmental disaster to strike the United States.
It must also still resolve a civil case on environmental fines which could amount to as much as US$18 billion if gross negligence is found. It also remains on the hook for billions in economic damages, including the cost of environmental rehabilitation.
The blowout on the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon drilling rig on April 20, 2010 killed 11 people and unleashed some 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf, blackening beaches in five states and crippling the region's tourism and fishing industries.