The Swiss company that operated the oil rig involved in BP's massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 has agreed to pay a $1.4 billion settlement. Transocean will pay the fine over a five-year period.
Transocean, owner of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, has agreed to pay a $1.4 billion (1.06 billion euro) fine for its role in the 2010 disaster, just two months after BP was fined $4.5 billion for its leading role in the accident.
The settlement includes $1 billion in civil penalties and $400 million in criminal penalties. From the latter, $150 million will be use to help restore and conserve the marine environment, and another $150 million will help fund improved oil spill prevention efforts in the Gulf of Mexico, the US Justice Department 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," US Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.
In April 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig burned and sank after a BP-owned well exploded. The Transocean vessel was drilling the well for BP at the time.
The explosion killed 11 people and sent millions of barrels of oil into the gulf. The accident constituted the largest offshore oil spill in American history, affecting more than 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) of the US coast.
As part of the settlement, Transocean pleads guilty to one count of violating the Clean Water Act and promises to establish a technology innovation group focused on drilling safety and devote at least $10 million to it.
The $1.4 billion fine will be paid over a period of five years.
Transocean issued a statement, reflecting on the loss of lives in the tragedy.
"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," the statement said.
tm/hc (AFP, dpa, Reuters)