The first person arrested in the BP oil spill is being released on $100,000 bail.

The former BP engineer, Kurt Mix, is accused of deleting more than 300 text messages about the amount of oil flowing from the blown-out well and the company's failed attempts to plug the gusher in 2010.

Mix appeared before a judge in Houston, shackled at his hands and feet. He said very little during the hearing, answering routine questions about the obstruction of justice charges he faces.

The judge told him that if convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison.

An attorney for Mix declined to comment after the hearing.