The 2010 BP Gulf oil spill is shown in this NASA satellite image.
(USA TODAY) -- Transocean , the drilling company implicated in the three-month
Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, will plead guilty to
violating the Clean Water Act and pay a $1.4 billion fine, the Justice
Department said Thursday.
Justice filed the agreement in a Louisiana court Thursday. A judge must approve the settlement.
In the agreement, Transocean admits criminal conduct and agrees to
improve its safety procedures and emergency response at all its drilling
rigs operating in U.S. waters, the Justice Department said.
crew continued operating even after they saw signs of problems that
resulted in the April 20, 2010 explosion that killed 11 rig workers and
led to the largested oil spill in U.S. history, assistant attorney
general Lanny Breuer said.
The guilty plea acknowledges that the
Transocean crew, under direction of BP's well-site company men, failed
to investigate "clear indications" that the Macondo well was not secure
and that oil and gas were flowing into the well, the Justice Department
The settlement "brings us one significant step closer to
justice for the human, environmental and economic devastation wrought by
the Deepwater Horizon disaster," Attorney General Eric Holder said.
"This agreement holds Transocean criminally accountable for its
The order filed in court Thursday dedicates $150 million
of a $400 million criminal fine to restoring coastal areas and barrier
islands damaged by the spill.
Another $150 million will pay for
improved oil spill prevention and response development and training. At
least 80% of the $1 billion civil fine will fund environmental and
economic projects in the five Gulf states affected by the spill.