Transocean pleads guilty for Gulf spill role
Transocean has agreed to plead guilty for its role in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident and pay $1.4 billion in both criminal and civil fines, the U.S. Department of Justice announced on 3 January 2013.
“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.
As part of the agreement reached by the Justice Department and Transocean, the company will plead guilty to one misdemeanor violation of the Clean Water Act for negligent discharge of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and receive five years probation in addition to the fines. The agreement concludes the Justice department’s criminal investigation.
“Transocean’s rig crew accepted the direction of BP well site leaders to proceed in the face of clear danger signs — at a tragic cost to many of them,” said Lanny A. Breuer, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “Transocean’s agreement to plead guilty to a federal crime, and to pay a total of $1.4 billion in criminal and civil penalties, appropriately reflects its role in the Deepwater Horizon disaster.”
The fines will be paid over a five-year period. Following the agreement’s approval by a U.S. federal court, Transocean will pay out $100 million within 60 days. Of the $1.4 billion, $150 million will be paid to the National Academy of Sciences over a five-year period for oil spill prevention and response. An additional $150 million will be paid to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation over a three-year period for natural resource restoration projects and coastal habitat restoration.
Transocean has also agreed to consult with the U.S. to prepare a performance plan to prevent recurrence of hydrocarbon spills. The plan must be submitted within 120 days of the agreement’s approval. Transocean said the agreements are in the best interest of shareholders and employees alike, by removing the uncertainty associated with the 2010 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,” Transocean said in a statement. “Their families continue to be in the thoughts and prayers of all of us at Transocean.”