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Deepwater Horizon Disaster: BP Nearing Billion Pound Settlement With US Authorities

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Oil giant BP is reportedly nearing a £7.4 billion settlement with US authorities as it seeks to draw a line under the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The group hopes to unveil a deal with the US Department of Justice by September that would resolve all criminal and civil penalties, removing the spectre of a lengthy and costly legal battle, according to The Sunday Times.

It has already provided 37 billion US dollars (£23.8 billion) to cover many of the costs following the disaster, which killed 11 workers in April 2010 and unleashed the biggest oil spill in American history.

But this figure includes just 3.5 billion (£2.2 billion) to cover charges under the Clean Water Act, which could rise to up to 17.5 billion US dollars (£11.2 billion) if BP is found grossly negligent.

It is thought BP is looking for a "grand settlement" of 15 billion US dollars covering Clean Water Act fines plus potential criminal charges and other damages.

That would mean it has to find a further 11.5 billion US dollars (£7.4 billion).

The Obama administration, which is keen to use the settlement as a potential vote winner ahead of the presidential election, is understood to be pushing for 25 billion US dollars (£16 billion) but both sides are thought keen to reach an agreement.

A deal would be seen as a coup for chief executive Bob Dudley, who is under pressure to revive the company's fortunes. Its shares are still a third lower than before the disaster.

BP is aiming to sell up to 14 billion US dollars (£9 billion) in assets by the end of this year to complete its money raising programme.

It's been more than two years since one of the worst environmental disasters in US history. The images from the oil spill capture the horror of the event: take a look below.

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