DOJ: Transocean settlement “one significant step closer to justice”

Transocean, Justice Dept. agree to settlement over 2010 oil spill

Shortly after BP pleaded guilty to manslaughter and other criminal charges for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG) (SIX: RIGN), the owner of the drilling rig, has agreed to pay $1.4 billion to the Justice Department. Transocean and the government reached a settlement January 3 for the oil rig explosion that killed 11 workers and caused a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The terms of the settlement call for the Switzerland-based company to pay $1 billion for civil penalties and the remaining $400 million in criminal penalties. It also required the company to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of violating the Clean Water Act. Much of the money will go toward funding restoration projects for the Gulf Coast and research and training in oil spill prevention.

"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 in a statement.

USA Today reported a judge still has to approve the settlement. If approved, Transocean will have to agree to improve its safety procedures and emergency response for all of its drilling rigs operating within U.S. waters. The article said Transocean continued to operate the Deepwater rig even after it saw signs of problems that led to the 2010 disaster.

More information on offshore oil drilling in the United States can be found at PennEnergy's research area.

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