HOUSTON Nov 14 BP Plc is expected to
plead guilty to criminal misconduct in the 2010 Deepwater
Horizon disaster through a plea agreement it has reached with
the U.S. Department of Justice that may be announced as soon as
Thursday, according to two sources familiar with discussions.
The sources, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity,
said that BP will plead guilty in exchange for a waiver of
future prosecution on the charges.
BP and the Justice Department declined to comment.
BP has been locked in months-long negotiations with the U.S.
government and Gulf Coast states to settle billions of dollars
of civil and criminal liability claims resulting from the April
20, 2010, explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig that killed
11 workers and fouled the shorelines of four Gulf Coast states
in the worst offshore spill in U.S. history.
It is unclear what form of criminal misconduct BP will plead
guilty to. In an August filing, the Department of Justice said
"reckless management" of the Macondo well "constituted gross
negligence and willful misconduct," which it intended to prove
at a pending civil trial set to begin in New Orleans in February
It is also unclear whether the deal will resolve any civil
charges brought by the Justice Department, and how large a
financial penalty BP might pay to resolve them.
BP has previously adamantly denied any suggestion that it
was grossly negligent in the disaster, a charge that could
trigger billions of dollars in penalties under the Clean Water