NEW ORLEANS — BP said this morning that it will pay $4.5 billion in a settlement with the U.S. government over the massive 2010 oil spill, and it will plead guilty to felony counts related to the deaths of 11 workers and lying to Congress.
The figure includes nearly $1.3 billion in criminal fines — the largest such penalty ever — along with payments to several government entities.
A person familiar with the settlement said two BP employees will also face manslaughter charges over the deaths of 11 people in the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that triggered the massive spill.
“We believe this resolution is in the best interest of BP and its shareholders,” said Carl-Henric Svanberg, BP’s Chairman. “It removes two significant legal risks and allows us to vigorously defend the company against the remaining civil claims.”
The settlement includes payments of nearly $2.4 billion to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, $350 million to the National Academy of Sciences and about $500 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
London-based BP PLC said in a statement that the settlement would not include civil claims under the Clean Water Act and other legislation, pending private civil claims and state claims for economic loss.
The charges BP will plead guilty to include 11 felony counts of misconduct or neglect of ships officers, one felony count of obstruction of Congress and one misdemeanor count each under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Clean Water Act.
Attorney General Eric Holder is scheduled to discuss the settlement at an afternoon news conference in New Orleans.