BP PLC said early Saturday that it has agreed to a $7.8 billion deal with a committee representing plaintiffs to settle claims by fishermen and other private claimants who were adversely affected by the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico caused by the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010.

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, BP CEO Robert W. Dudley said in a statement.

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, Dudley added.

Although the proposed agreement may eventually resolve most of the private-sector litigation related to the disaster, the U.S. federal government -- as well as state and local governments -- have also sued BP over pollution claims. Fines associated with the pollution of the Gulf of Mexico could total billions of dollars. The tentative settlement does not include these claims.

In the worst U.S. offshore oil spill in history, an estimated 4.9 million barrels of crude oil was emitted by the Macondo Prospect well primarily owned by BP following the accident in April 2010. Among the main corporate defendants in the ensuing litigation are the United Kingdom-based BP, owner of 65 percent of the Macondo well; the Switzerland-based Transocean Ltd., owner of the Deepwater Horizon oil-drilling rig; and the U.S.-based Halliburton Co., provider of cementing services for the drilling operation.

Prior to the proposed settlement, BP had spent more than $22 billion toward meeting its commitments in the Gulf. BP has paid out more than $8.1 billion to individuals, businesses, and government entities. In addition, BP has spent approximately $14 billion on operational response, the company said.

The proposed agreement has led to the postponement of a trial that was to have begun Monday. It has been adjourned indefinitely, as per an order signed Friday by U.S. District Judge Carl J. Barbier.