Oil giant BP is to pay the biggest fine in US history after agreeing a £2.8 billion settlement with authorities for claims relating to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
BP will pay the fine over six years after it pleaded guilty to 14 criminal charges relating to the oil rig accident in 2010, which killed 11 workers and spilled millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
"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.
Fire boat response crews spray water on the blazing remnants of BP's Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig
"From the outset, we stepped up by responding to the spill, paying legitimate claims and funding restoration efforts in the Gulf.
"We apologise 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 record-breaking fine surpasses even the £820 million fine paid by drugs group Pfizer in 2009 for marketing fraud related to a pain medicine.
The oil spill lasted for 87 days, with disastrous consequences for thousands of miles of coastline.
The fined mean there are not further criminal charges which can be levied against the company based on the accident, but civil claims are still outstanding, which Carl-Henric Svanberg, BP's Chairman, said the company would "vigorously defend."
BP Group Chief Executive Bob Dudley
Department of Justice (DOJ), a total of £1.5bn has been paid to the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation over a period of five years. In addition, £22m will be paid to the National Academy of Sciences over a period of five years.
"Since the spill, we have worked hard to rebuild confidence in the company," Dudley continued.
"We take seriously not only our commitment to safety and operational excellence but also our communications with stakeholders, including the public, the government and our investors."
"From the outset, we made a commitment to clean up the spill and pay legitimate claims - and we've been fulfilling that commitment ever since. As we move forward, we are preparing to defend ourselves in court on the remaining claims.
"We are open to settlements, but only on reasonable terms."
In addition two of BP's staff will be charged with manslaughter, AP claims.