It looks increasingly likely that British oil giant BP will face trial over the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
Despite months of settlement negotiations, US prosecutors have said they plan to prove that BP is guilty of gross negligence or wilful misconduct.
In April 2010, 11 people were killed following an explosion on a BP-leased oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.
It was America’s worst offshore environmental catastrophe.
A giant oil spill following the initial explosion took months to plug and damaged several kilometres of US coastline.
BP was hoping to spend the equivalent of 12 billion euros settling the case and has denied the new claims.
Analysts said the US Department of Justice was looking for 20 billion in fines. The trial is due to start next January.
Environmental groups claim the oil spill is still causing damage along the Gulf of Mexico coast two years on.