NEW ORLEANS –BP PLC has reached a tentative, $18.7 billion settlement with the federal government and five Gulf Coast states for damages related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, court records show.

The settlement by was brokered by BP’s U.S. subsidiary, BP Exploration and Production Inc., and includes the states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida as well as over 400 smaller government entities. The combined $18.732 billion settlement will be payable over a 16 year period.

In a joint press conference with Gov. Bobby Jindal, Louisiana Attorney General James “Buddy”

Caldwell said the settlement will provide $6.8 billion to the state Caldwell said the agreement was preferable to a trial.

The settlement heads off individual state trials against BP that were set to begin early next year.

Bob Dudley, BP's group chief executive, said in a statement that the settlement provides “a realistic outcome which provides clarity and certainty for all parties.”

See the full settlement here:

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