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Transocean to pay $1 billion in penalties related to Deepwater Horizon

Transocean to pay $1 billion in penalties related to Deepwater Horizon
Transocean to pay $1 billion in penalties related to Deepwater Horizon

On January 3, 2012, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that Transocean Deepwater Inc. said it would plead guilty to Clean Water Act violations, and pay a sum of more than $1 billion in civil and criminal fines and penalties.

The violations stemmed from the company's role in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster, the Department of Justice announced.

Transocean signed the guilty plea with the government, admitting to criminal conduct for its role in the oil spill. In the deal, the firm agreed to pay $400 million in criminal fines and be in full compliance with the government's investigation into the oil spill. Transocean, and all of its subsidiaries, have also agreed to pay another $1 billion for violating the Clean Water Act.

All violations are based on the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, in which oil leaked for three months out of the Macondo Well. The settlement also forces the company to introduce new EPA maintenance compliance measures to improve safety within the company, as well as improve emergency response capabilities at all rigs operating in the seas of the U.S. coast.

"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," said Attorney General Eric Holder. "This agreement holds Transocean criminally accountable for its conduct and provides nearly a billion dollars in criminal and civil penalties for the benefit of the Gulf states."

Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, added that the settlement was an "important step" in holding those within Transocean responsible for the accident accountable for the disaster.

According to Reuters, the Deepwater investigation found "multiple safety management system deficiencies that contributed to the Macondo incident."

As the Deepwater Horizon incident demonstrates, failure to have appropriate maintenance management systems in place can lead to enormous financial setbacks and can even put employees at risk for injury or death.

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