BP Exploration & Production has signed an agreement with US federal and state agencies to speed up work to restore areas of the Gulf of Mexico affected by the Deepwater Horizon explosion last year.

The agreement commits up to $1bn to projects that will restore damaged resources in the Gulf at the earliest opportunity.

The projects will undergo public review before they are funded, and priority will be assigned to projects aimed at improving areas that offer the greatest benefits to wildlife, habitat and recreational use.

Natural Resource Damage Assessment studies are underway to identify injuries and propose plans to restore them.

Work is expected to begin in this year, according to BP.