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BP, plaintiffs reach billion dollar deal in Gulf oil spill

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 1:40 AM EST, Sat March 3, 2012
Crews suck up oil from the Deepwater Horizon disaster in Grand Isle, Louisiana, on June 9, 2010.
Crews suck up oil from the Deepwater Horizon disaster in Grand Isle, Louisiana, on June 9, 2010.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • "The settlement is to be fully funded by BP," CEO says
  • The plaintiffs say there is no cap on what BP will pay them
  • The deal will "fully compensate hundreds of thousands of victims of the tragedy," plaintiffs say

(CNN) -- BP and plaintiffs involved in the legal battle over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill -- the largest in U.S. history -- have reached an agreement, both sides said late Friday.

BP estimated that it would have to pay about $7.8 billion in the Deepwater Horizon disaster settlement.

"The proposed settlement represents significant progress toward resolving issues from the Deepwater Horizon accident and contributing further to economic and environmental restoration efforts along the Gulf Coast," said Bob Dudley, the CEO of BP.

A group representing the plaintiffs in the case said the settlement "will fully compensate hundreds of thousands of victims of the tragedy."

"The settlement is to be fully funded by BP, with no cap on the amount BP will pay," the group added.

U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier wrote in an order that the two sides have "reached an agreement on the terms of a proposed class settlement which will be submitted to the court for approval."

A civil trial on the issue was scheduled to take place in Louisiana federal court.

Among the defendants were BP, the well operator and majority shareholder in the venture, rig-owner Transocean, construction contractor Halliburton and other firms associated with the project. Among the thousands of plaintiffs are fishermen, hotel owners and other Gulf Coast residents.

The three-month-long spill, the largest oil spill in U.S. history, was triggered after an explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig on April 20, 2010. Eleven people were killed in the blast.

CNN's John King contributed to this report

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