BP Plc will pay $4.5 billion in penalties and plead guilty to felony misconduct in the Deepwater Horizon disaster that caused the worst offshore oil spill in the country's history.
The company said on Thursday that the settlement includes a $1.256 billion criminal fine, the largest such levy in U.S. history.
A settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is also part of the deal, as are payments to the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation and the National Academy of Sciences.
"Getting this fine out of the way is a big hurdle for the stock price, it's a big overhang. So once this is done it then leads onto the civil claims which should be done in February and this will set a sort of level and people can start working out what level these civil claims are going to be," said EXT analyst Joe Rundle.
The April, 2010 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 workers.
The oil well then spewed 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf over 87 days, fouling shorelines from Texas to Florida.
The oil company said it would plead guilty to 11 felony counts related to the workers' deaths, a felony related to obstruction of Congress and two misdemeanors.