Transocean was a contractor to BP and owned the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that was at the center of the Gulf oil spill. BP has already agreed to $4.5 billion in fines.
Chief Petty Officer John Kepsimelis/U.S. Coast Guard/REUTERS/File
An offshore drilling company agreed to plead guilty on Thursday to a single Clean Water Act charge and pay $1.4 billion in fines for its role in the April 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The company, Transocean Deepwater Inc. signed a plea and cooperation agreement with the Justice Department that includes payment of both civil and criminal penalties.
The company admitted that members of its crew aboard its Deepwater Horizon rig were negligent in failing to investigate indications that the offshore well was not secure, according a government statement. It noted that Transocean crew members were acting at the direction of BP officials in charge of the drilling operation.
The company is agreeing to cooperate with the Justice Department in its continuing investigation of a disaster that killed 11 rig workers and caused the largest offshore oil spill in US history.
Transocean was a contractor to BP and provided the deep water rig for the drilling operation. BP has agreed to pay $4.5 billion in fines and has pleaded guilty to manslaughter charges related to the 11 deaths.
In November, federal prosecutors indicted two BP drilling supervisors on manslaughter charges for allegedly disregarding indications that the offshore well was about to fail.
“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,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.