BP is to pay $4.5bn (£2.8bn) to US authorities to settle claims relating to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 . It is the largest fine in US history.
Two BP supervisors will also face manslaughter charges over the deaths of 11 workers.
ITV News' Washington Correspondent Robert Moore reports.
The US Attorney General Eric Holder has said that authorities negotiated with BP to resolve the civil claims it is facing but was unable to reach a "satisfactory" number.
He added that is was possible that the US and the oil giant could still resolve the claims out of court, but that officials are preparing for trial.
US Attorney General Eric Holder has confirmed that two BP workers will face grand jury indictments on 23 criminal counts, Reuters reports.
Speaking at a news conference, Mr Holder also said that a former BP official has been indicted for hiding information from the US Congress.
US Attorney General Eric Holder has said that the deal reached with BP over the Deepwater disaster is the "largest total criminal resolution in the history of the United States".
Speaking at a news conference, he also said:
– US Attorney General Eric Holder
It stands as a testament to the hard work of countless investigators, attorneys, support staff workers and other persons from the Deepwater taskforce to advance a complex and wide-ranging investigation that began even before the oil well was capped.
BP shares dropped 0.4% to 425.4p after the Deepwater Horizon agreement announcement just before the market close.
But the stock had been higher earlier in the session as investors saw the deal removing some of the uncertainty hanging over the stock since the disaster.
Today's announcement of a proposed settlement between BP and the US government fails every aspect of the commonly accepted notion of penalty.
This proposed settlement would not hold the guilty accountable for their actions.
This fine amounts to a rounding error for a corporation the size of BP.
– Greenpeace senior investigator Mark Floegel
This proposed settlement would not protect the innocent.
Nothing in this proposed settlement gives any oil company incentive to be more careful in future operations. Cutting corners and skimping on safety will still be the rule of the day.
BP has issued a statement after it reached an agreement with US authorities over claims relating to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and agreed to pay a $4.5bn (£2.8 billion) fine.
It includes a record $1.26bn criminal fine.
– Bob Dudley, BP’s Group Chief Executive
All of us at BP deeply regret the tragic loss of life caused by the Deepwater Horizon accident as well as the impact of the spill on the Gulf coast region.
From the outset, we stepped up by responding to the spill, paying legitimate claims and funding restoration efforts in the Gulf.
We apologise for our role in the accident, and as today's resolution with the US government further reflects, we have accepted responsibility for our actions.
BP is to pay the biggest criminal fine in US history of $1.26bn, as part of a $4.5bn (£2.8bn) settlement related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.
The oil giant plead guilty to a total of 14 criminal charges including 11 relating to the deaths of 11 workers
The previous record fine was held by Pfizer Inc, who paid a $1.3 billion fine in 2009 for a marketing fraud.