US hails 'record' $25.2 billion settlement with BP over 2010 Gulf oil spill

The oil slick from the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico is seen in 2010.
The oil slick from the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico is seen in 2010. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The head of the United States Justice Department, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, hailed on Thursday the record US$18.7 billion (S$25.2 billion) settlement with BP on civil claims over its 2010 Gulf oil spill.

"If approved by the court, this settlement would be the largest settlement with a single entity in American history; it would help repair the damage done to the Gulf economy, fisheries, wetlands and wildlife; and it would bring lasting benefits to the Gulf region for generations to come," Ms Lynch said in a statement.

Ms Lynch said the process of finalising the proposed agreement, which includes taking public comment, likely would take several months.

BP's Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010 was the largest environmental disaster in US history.

The US$18.7 billion deal announced by BP on Thursday settles civil claims against the British oil company filed by the US government and five Gulf Coast states: Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

Ms Lynch's predecessor Eric Holder announced a civil lawsuit against BP and its co-defendants in December 2010.

"Since that time, the Deepwater trial team has fought aggressively in federal court for an outcome that would achieve this mission, proving along the way that BP's gross negligence resulted in the Deepwater disaster," Ms Lynch said.