03 January 2013 19:30 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--Transocean has agreed to pay $1bn (€760m) to settle charges stemming from the Deepwater Horizon explosion in 2010 that killed 11 workers and caused a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) said on Thursday.
Transocean signed the guilty plea agreement to pay a record $1bn in civil penalties to resolve federal Clean Water Act claims for the three-month long spill at the Maconda well and Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, as well as $400m in criminal fines, the DOJ said.
The company will make payments over a five-year period, according to a statement on its website.
As part of the agreement, Transocean will continue to cooperate in the government’s criminal investigation, and its subsidiaries must implement court-enforceable measures to improve operational safety and emergency response capabilities at all of their drilling rigs, the DOJ said.
“This resolution of criminal allegations and civil claims against Transocean brings us one significant step closer to justice for the human, environmental and economic devastation wrought by the Deepwater Horizon disaster,” attorney general Eric Holder said. “This agreement holds Transocean criminally accountable for its conduct and provides nearly a billion dollars in criminal and civil penalties for the benefit of the Gulf states. “
The plea agreement is subject to court approval, and the proposed civil settlement is still subject to a public comment period and final court approval.
“These important agreements, which the company believes to be in the best interest of its shareholders and employees, remove much of the uncertainty associated with the accident,” Transocean said on its website.
“This is a positive step forward, but it is also a time to reflect on the 11 men who lost their lives aboard the Deepwater Horizon. Their families continue to be in the thoughts and prayers of all of us at Transocean.”
In connection with the disaster, BP has agreed to pay $4.5bn to settle criminal claims made by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, and three of BP’s managers also face criminal charges. Additionally, a federal judge has approved a settlement agreement between BP and several people and businesses who sued the company following the spill.
($1 = €0.76)
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