Transocean settlement set at $1.4bn

DRILLING contractor Transocean yesterday agreed to pay $1.4bn (£867m) in fines to settle charges with the US government relating to the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Transocean, the Switzerland-based owner of the Deepwater Horizon vessel, will pay $1bn in civil penalties and $400m in criminal penalties over five years under the settlement with the Department of Justice.

The firm will also plead guilty to violating the Clean Water Act.

The 20 April 2010 explosion happened aboard Transocean’s Deepwater Horizon rig offshore Mexico, which killed 11 workers and spewed around 4.9m barrels of oil into the sea over three months.

Yesterday’s settlement follows the BP settlement in November, where the oil major paid $4.5bn to settle all claims relating to the disaster. It also pleaded guilty to charges of misconduct.

In a statement, BP said the settlement underscored “that the Deepwater Horizon accident resulted from multiple causes, involving multiple parties.”

BP, whose shares rose yesterday, still faces damages of a maximum of $21bn for claims under the Clean Water Act, and other claims for Natural Resources Damages. It also faces various private claims going through US federal and state courts.

Offshore drill contractor Transocean said yesterday that it believed the settlement was in the “best interest of its shareholders and employees”, and would “remove much uncertainty” associated with the 2010 Macondo spill.