A U.S. judge has approved a deal for oil giant BP to plead guilty to manslaughter and other charges and pay $4 billion in criminal penalties for its role in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.
Some 4.9 million barrels of oil spewed into the open sea in the three months before the blown-out well could be capped.
It was the largest accidental oil spill in the petroleum industry history.
BP agreed in November to plead guilty to charges involving the deaths of 11 workers in the "Deepwater Horizon" drilling rig explosion that started the spill, and for lying to the U.S. Congress about the size of the spill.
The deal does not settle the federal government's civil claims against BP, which could pay billions more in penalties for environmental damage.
Based on reporting by AFP and AP