BP and plaintiffs extend talks on compensation

Hopes were raised for a multi-billion dollar settlement of claims over the Deepwater Horizon oil spill last night, as BP won a delay to a trial that had been due to start in New Orleans today.

BP and the negotiating committee for more than 100,000 plaintiffs following the Gulf of Mexico spill said they had been granted a one-week adjournment to allow them to continue talks.

The trial is due to allocate blame between BP and its partners and contractors on the doomed oil rig, which exploded in April 2010, killing 11 people and unleashing the worst offshore oil spill in history.

The complex litigation pits residents and businesses of the Gulf of Mexico region against BP, Halliburton and Transocean, among others, and also involves a claim of gross negligence against BP from the US Government.

"This adjournment is intended to allow BP and the Plaintiffs Steering Committee more time to continue settlement discussions and attempt to reach an agreement," the two groups said last night. "We are working to reach agreement to fairly compensate people and businesses affected" by the spill.

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