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    BP Reaches Deal for Gulf Oil Spill Lawsuits

    $7.8 billion deal represents partial settlement

    Oil collects along the shore from Gulf of Mexico spill
    Oil collects along the shore from Gulf of Mexico spill

    British Petroleum has announced it has reached a multi-billion-dollar agreement with fishermen and other plaintiffs who sued over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill off the U.S. coast.

    BP says the $7.8 billion deal represents a partial settlement in the case and expects the money to come from the $20 billion compensation fund that it previously set up.

    The U.S. government case involving BP has not yet been resolved.

    U.S. Judge Carl Barbier said the agreement announced late Friday now goes to the court for approval.  He says the trial that had been scheduled for Monday has been postponed for a second time.  No new date has been announced.

    The case was triggered by the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of the southern state of Louisiana in April of 2010.

    The explosion killed 11 workers and sent millions of gallons of oil spewing across the multi-state Gulf region, killing wildlife and destroying livelihoods.

    The U.S. government is pursuing a separate case focusing on liability for the explosion.  Last September a team of Coast Guard officials and federal regulators issued a report that concluded BP bears ultimate responsibility for the spill.

    The report said BP violated federal regulations, ignored crucial warnings and made bad decisions when trying to cement the leaking well about 1.5 kilometers beneath the Gulf of Mexico.

    Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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