On Thursday, British oil-company BP agreed to pay $18.7 billion as part of a Gulf oil spill settlement in civil suits with the five Gulf-states and the U.S. government over the next 18 years.
The agreement is the largest environmental settlement in history and the largest settlement with a single entity.
The settlement stems from the 2010 Gulf Coast oil spill.
The Deepwater Horizon oil rig caught fire, killing 11 rig workers on board and spilling millions of barrels worth of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
In addition to this $18.7 billion settlement BP also paid roughly $29 billion in as a part of its response and clean-up of the oil spill.
Some environmental advocates are arguing however that BP still has a lot to answer for.
“If the court approves this proposal, BP will be getting off easy and ‘we the people’ will not be fully compensated for the natural resource damages that we suffered, and the law requires that the public is made whole for those damages,” said Jacqueline Savitz, U.S. vice president for Oceana, a group dedicated to protecting the world’s oceans.
Much of the $18.7 billion to be paid by BP will be tax-deductible and the Gulf oil spill settlement also gives BP an opportunity to plot a course for the future.
“This allows us to manage BP as an oil company,” BP CEO Bob Dudley said during a conference call.
Dudley said that BP could launch as many as 20 new ventures by 2020 depending on oil-prices.
[The Associated Press]