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US Judge Accepts Transocean Ltd's $400 Million Macondo Settlement-Reuters

Thursday, 14 Feb 2013 11:28am EST 

Reuters reported that a federal judge on February 14, 2013 accepted Transocean Ltd's guilty plea for violating the U.S. Clean Water Act and the rig contractor's payment of $400 million to settle U.S. criminal charges over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill at BP Plc's Macondo well. U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo, of U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, accepted the plea, citing the resulting large fine as a good example of the deterrent effect of the plea process. The overall settlement, unveiled last month by the U.S. Department of Justice, included $1 billion in civil penalties in addition to the $400 million in criminal penalties. The Deepwater Horizon rig, which was owned by Transocean and contracted by BP, was drilling a mile-deep well on April 20, 2010, when a surge of methane gas caused a blowout that killed 11 workers. The well spewed 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 straight days, unleashing a torrent of oil that fouled the shorelines of four Gulf Coast states and eclipsed the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska in severity. The accident led to a months-long U.S. deepwater ban and intense scrutiny of the offshore drilling industry, which is now booming worldwide despite lingering public concerns. Of the $400 million in Transocean criminal fines, $150 million will help protect the Gulf of Mexico, while another $150 million will fund spill prevention and response efforts there. 

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