Oil giant BP has reached a $7.8bn settlement with the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC) relating to the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the US Gulf of Mexico.

The settlement, expected to be paid from the $20bn trust, aims to resolve the substantial majority of legitimate economic loss and medical claims related to the spill, according to BP. This also includes a commitment of $2.3bn to help resolve loss claims related to the Gulf seafood industry.

The oil spill occurred from a sea-floor oil gusher in 2010, following an explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which drilled on the BP-operated Macondo Prospect.

The company said it has already spent some $22bn towards meeting its commitments in the region, including about $8.1bn paid to individuals, businesses and governments and about $14bn on operational response.

BP Group CEO Bob Dudley said: "From the beginning, BP stepped up to meet our obligations to the communities in the Gulf Coast region, and we’ve worked hard to deliver on that commitment for nearly two years."

"The proposed settlement represents significant progress toward resolving issues from the Deepwater Horizon accident and contributing further to economic and environmental restoration efforts along the Gulf Coast."

The settlement is subject to reaching definitive and fully-documented agreements within 45 days; should these agreements not be reached, either party has the right to terminate the proposed settlement.

BP and the PSC would then seek the court’s preliminary approval of the settlement, once the definitive and fully-documented agreements are in place.