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Transocean pleads guilty in Deepwater Horizon Disaster

Company sentenced to pay $400 million in criminal penalties

oil spillTransocean Deepwater Inc. has pleaded guilty today to a violation of the Clean Water Act (CWA) for its illegal conduct leading to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. The company was sentenced to pay $400 million in criminal fines and penalties. 

In total, the amount of fines and other criminal penalties imposed on Transocean are the second-largest environmental crime recovery in U.S. history – second only to the historic $4 billion criminal sentence imposed on BP Exploration and Production Inc. in connection with the same disaster.

During the guilty plea, Transocean admitted that members of its crew onboard the Deepwater Horizon, acting at the direction of BP’s well site leaders, known as “company men,” were negligent in failing to investigate fully clear indications that the Macondo well was not secure and that oil and gas were flowing into the well. Eleven workers were killed and untold barrels of oil discharged into the ocean in the incident.

During the guilty plea, Transocean admitted that members of its crew onboard the Deepwater Horizon, acting at the direction of BP’s well site leaders, known as “company men,” were negligent in failing to investigate fully clear indications that the Macondo well was not secure and that oil and gas were flowing into the well.

Most of the money will go toward protecting, restoring and rebuilding the Gulf Coast region, including $150 million toward acquiring, restoring, preserving and conserving the marine and coastal environments, ecosystems and bird and wildlife habitat in the Gulf of Mexico and bordering states harmed by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. This portion will also be directed to significant barrier island restoration and/or river diversion off the coast of Louisiana to further benefit and improve coastal wetlands affected by the spill. An additional $150 million will be used to fund improved oil spill prevention and response efforts in the Gulf through research, development, education and training.

Transocean was also sentenced, according to the plea agreement, to five years of probation – the maximum term of probation permitted by law.

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