[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/16/art.cnn.obama.escrowfundjpg caption="Obama announced Wednesday that BP will place $20 billion in an escrow fund to pay for claims in the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster ."]
Washington (CNN) - BP has reached an agreement with the federal government to place $20 billion in an escrow fund to pay for claims in the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, President Barack Obama announced at the White House on Wednesday. The amount does not represent a total cap on the amount the oil giant may ultimately have to pay, the president said.
Obama's announcement came at the conclusion of a lengthy White House meeting between top administration and BP officials.
The $20 billion fund will be administered by an independent third party, Obama said. Attorney Kenneth Feinberg - who oversaw the compensation fund for victims of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks - will oversee the claims process, he added.
The fund "will not supersede individuals' or states' rights to present claims in court," he said. BP, he asserted, will remain liable for the environmental disaster in the Gulf.
BP has also voluntarily agreed to create a $100 million fund for the purpose of compensating oil rig workers now unemployed as a result of closure of other deepwater rigs after the April 20 Deepwater Horizon explosion, Obama said.