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BP hit with record $18.7 billion fine over Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill

The settlement is being described as the largest ever environmental fine.

BP has faced a deluge of legal claims since the April 2010 catastrophe, in which 11 workers were killed.

Caused by an explosion, the spill saw around 5 million barrels ofoil leak into the sea in the Gulf of Mexico, making it the worst such event to ever take place in US waters.

The US Justice Department said the payment could be the largest settlement with a single entity in American history and the total value would top $18.7 billion.

BP said the agreement covered claims from the states Of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas and 400 local government entities.

BP still faces a maximum fine of $13.7 billion under the Clean Water Act for its Gulf of Mexico oil spill, after a judge ruled that it was smaller than the US government claimed.

BP shares extended earlier gains following the announcement and were last up 19.55p or 4.7% at 438.7p.

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