(TELEGRAPH) — The long-awaited trial into the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has been postponed at the eleventh hour to give BP more time to reach a settlement.
Wrangling among BP and its partners over responsibility for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster continued right up to the start of the trial in New Orleans on Monday.

Lawyers for all parties involved in the so-called “trial of the century” held a telephone conference call with Judge Carl Barbier yesterday afternoon at which it was agreed the trial would be delayed until Monday March 5.

BP, which has faced huge pressure from shareholders to settle the case, said that the shock delay was designed to allow a settlement with lawyers representing the thousands of shrimpers and hoteliers who have sued the UK oil company. It’s likely though not clear if a settlement would also be with the US government. BP said that despite the delay, there’s no guarantee a settlement will be reached.

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