A federal judge has approved an agreement for BP PLC to plead guilty to manslaughter and other charges and pay a record $4 billion in criminal penalties for the company's role in the massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
BP agreed in November to plead guilty to charges involving the deaths of 11 workers aboard the drilling rig that exploded and for lying to Congress.
Before ruling on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance heard testimony from relatives of workers who died when BP's blown-out Macondo well triggered an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig in April 2010.
More than 200 million gallons of oil spewed from the well about 50 miles southeast of the Louisiana coast before it was capped three months later.
Last year BP settled $7.8 billion in lawsuits from thousands of fishermen who lost work and others who claimed they were harmed by the oil giant's 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster, in the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.
The damaged oil rig spewed oil into the sea for nearly three months, ruining beaches and destroying animal habitats, as well as seriously damaging the fishing industry in the gulf.
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