Washington (dpa) – Nearly three years after a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the company that operated the oil rig has agreed to pay a 1.4-billion-dollar settlement, according to a court filing Thursday.
Transocean, owner and operator of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, will pay more than 1.4 billion dollars, according to a consent decree between the company and the US filed in federal court in New Orleans.
The settlement includes a 400-million-dollar criminal penalty.
The Deepwater Horizon oil rig burned and sank in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010 after a well belonging to BP exploded. The blowout killed 11 people and sent millions of barrels of crude leaking into the gulf resulting in the largest offshore oil spill in US history. More than 1,000 kilometres of US coastline was damaged by the oil.
As part of the settlement Transocean will plead guilty to one count of violating the Clean Water Act and will establish a technology innovation group to focus on drilling safety, devoting a minimum of 10 million dollars to the group.
Transocean will pay the penalty over five years, however, this year’s payment will be 560 million dollars, the Vernier, Switzerland-based company said. The settlement ends the Justice Department’s criminal investigation.
”This agreement holds Transocean criminally responsible for its conduct,” US Attorney General Eric Holder said. ”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.”
BP previously agreed to pay 4 billion dollars to the Justice Department to resolve charges connected to the spill and 525 million dollars to settle the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s claim that the company misled investors about the rate of oil flowing into the gulf.
BP also has agreed to pay an estimated 7.8 billion dollars to settle most private plaintiffs’ claims. The judge has granted partial approval to the settlement.
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