New Orleans, Louisiana — British Petroleum agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges and pay $4.5 billion to the government in a settlement over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Three BP employees will face criminal charges, two of them with manslaughter. The incident occurred 2 1/2 years ago when a drilling-rig explosion killed 11 workers and caused the biggest offshore oil spill in the U.S. BP plead guilty to criminal charges involving the deaths of the 11 workers, and lying to Congress about the amount of oil that was leaking from the well. Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine, rig workers at the time of the explosion, have been indicted on charges of manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter. They are accused of ignoring the abnormal high-pressure readings that should have been an indication of trouble. BP’s former vice president for the Gulf of Mexico, David Rainey, has been charged with obstruction of Congress and making false statements. The settlement must be approved by a federal judge. It includes payments of $2.4 billion to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, $350 million to the National Academy of Sciences and about $500 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission. This settlement does not include the civil cases pending.