BP, the petroleum company that was at the centre of a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, received $250 million (£161.3 million) from the designer and manufacturer of the failed blowout preventer on its Deepwater Horizon rig.

The settlement from the contractor Cameron International comes in advance of a federal trial in the United States over the 20 April, 2010 incident, in which 11 workers died following an explosion on the rig.

The non-jury trial is scheduled to begin in New Orleans on 27 February, 2012 and determine fault in the incident, which released more than 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana.

BP said the settlement was "in their mutual best interests and that the agreement is not an admission of liability by either party". BP and Cameron have also agreed to drop all claims against one another, the companies said in separate statements.

BP has already settled claims with the oil exploration company MOEX Offshore and the petroleum corporation Anadrko, as well as the supplier Weatherford International, which made a part used in the well.

"Today's settlement allows BP and Cameron to put our legal issues behind us and move forward to improve safety in the drilling industry," said Bob Dudley, BP group chief executive.

"Unfortunately, other companies persist in refusing to accept responsibility for their roles in the accident and for contributing to restoration efforts," Mr Dudley said in a swipe at Halliburton Corp and Transocean Ltd, which have yet to agree on a payout ahead of the trial.

Halliburton supplied cement used to seal the Macondo well and Transocean was the owner and operator of the Deep Water Horizon rig.

BP said it would apply the $250 million to the $20 billion fund it set up last year for victims of the disaster.

dead fish
The carcass of a fish is all that remains as volunteers help to clean up the beach following the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.