The Deepwater Horizon clean up operation Image: NOAA
The offshore drilling contractor has pleaded guilty to a single violation of the US Clean Water Act for negligent discharge of oil into the Gulf of Mexico as a result of the rig explosion and leak from the Macondo Well in April 2010.
The plea and agreed financial settlement will cost the company a total of $1.4bn in fines, recoveries and penalties excluding interest, with $100m being paid with 60 days of the agreement being approved by the US Federal Court.
The remaining amount will be paid over the next three-to-five years to the National Academy of Sciences and the National Fish and Wildife Foundation and £1bn to cover civil claims against the organisation.
In return, the Department of Justice has agreed to conclude its investigation in to Transocean's involvement in the disaster which cost the lives of 11 rig crew and was one of the US' largest oil disasters on record.
Transocean commented: "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. 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 a curt statement, rig-owners BP (which has already admitted its role and agreed a settlement for the spill) welcomed the agreement and stated this was further evidence that that the disaster was a result of multiple factors involving multiple parties. It also pulled no punches in calling on the other main contractor involved, Halliburton, to step up and accept responsibility for failing to adequately cement and monitor the well - a charge Halliburton currently denies.
Published 4th January, 2013
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