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BP, US Justice Dept close to oil spill settlement -WSJ

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Oct 10 (Reuters) - BP PLC and the U.S. JusticeDepartment are close to a broad deal that would release thecompany from additional civil and criminal liabilities arisingout of 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, the Wall Street Journalreported, citing people familiar with the talks.

BP in March reached an estimated $7.8 billion deal toresolve its liability with plaintiffs, a wide-ranging group thatrepresents condominium owners, fishermen, hoteliers, restaurantowners and others who say their livelihood was damaged by thespill.

A settlement with the Justice Department would resolve BP'sbiggest remaining liability from the rig explosion that killed11 workers and led to the worst offshore oil spill in U.S.history.

BP could be liable for between $5.4 billion and $21 billionin civil penalties under the Clean Water Act alone, depending onwhether it were found to be grossly negligent, which it hasdenied, the paper said (htt p://link.reuters.com/nef33t).

Both BP and Justice Department declined to comment toReuters when contacted about the Journal report.

(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; Editing by Ken Wills)

((sakthi.prasad@thomsonreuters.com)(within U.S. +1 646 2238780)(outside U.S. +91 80 4135 5800)(Reuters Messaging:sakthi.prasad.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: BP OILSPILL/