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.
More top news
iPhone users are being targeted by a new scam asking customers for their personal details.
The youngsters were found unharmed in a Toyota after it failed to stop on the M25.
Labour is facing the embarrassing prospect of coming third, behind the Conservatives, in the Scottish parliamentary elections.