Transocean pays $1.4 billion in Deepwater penalties

Jan 4, 2013

Agreement means Haliburton is only firm involved in disaster yet to settle with US authorities

TRANSOCEAN, the firm which operated BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig, has agreed to pay $1.4 billion in fines, according to the BBC.

The rig exploded on 20 April 2010 killing 11 workers and causing one of the worst environmental disasters in US history, with massive damage to the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Transocean will pay $400 million in criminal penalties under America's Clean Water Act and a further $1 billion in civil penalties.

The US Chemical Safety Board criticised both BP and Transocean and the two firms rowed over how much blame each should accept. "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 assistant attorney general Lanny Breuer.

In November, BP agreed a settlement with the US government costing $4.5 billion, including a $1.26 billion criminal fine. It has spent $14 billion on cleaning up the oil spill and compensating local people and still faces another trial which could cost the British firm $21 billion in civil penalties.

As part of the deal, Transocean must make a series of improvements to operating rules and safety procedures. It says it plans to pay the fines over the next five years.

The only company involved in the disaster still to settle with US authorities is Haliburton, the company that carried out a crucial cementing job which failed, triggering the explosion.

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