BP relieved by latest oil spill settlement

Jan. 14, 2013 at 8:27 AM

HOUSTON, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- A decision by a federal judge in New Orleans to approve a health settlement related to the Deepwater Horizon avoids years of litigation, said BP.

A federal judge in New Orleans announced the approval of the medical portion of a $7.8 billion settlement related to the Deepwater Horizon accident in 2010.

Geoff Morrell, a spokesman for the oil company, said BP was pleased that it was able to settlement the majority of "legitimate medical claims" related to the incident.

"These settlements are historic resolutions that avoid years of lengthy litigation, and today's decision by the court represents yet another critical step forward for BP in meeting its commitment to economic and environmental restoration efforts in the gulf and in eliminating legal risk facing the company," he said in a statement.

The company faces a series of federal fines and damages related to the incident, which left entire ecosystems ravaged and 11 rig workers dead in one of the worst accidents of its kind.

BP in November agreed to plead guilty to 14 criminal charges stemming from the accident as well as to $4 billion in fines and penalties.

Transocean Deepwater Inc., owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig, leased to BP, agreed to pay more than $1 billion in fines and penalties in early January.

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