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NEW ORLEANS - (Mealey's) The federal judge in Louisiana who is overseeing litigation arising from the April 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and ensuing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on Feb. 19 approved Transocean Deepwater Inc. and its affiliates' agreement to pay $1 billion in civil penalties to resolve claims brought by the federal government under the Clean Water Act (CWA) (In re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig "Deepwater Horizon" in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2012, MDL 2179, E.D. La.).
(Judgment available. Document #08-130315-005X.)
U.S. Judge Carl Barbier of the Eastern District of Louisiana signed the consent decree, which was originally filed by Transocean, Transocean Holdings LLC, Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling Inc. and Triton Asset Leasing GMBH on Jan. 3. Transocean and its affiliates owned the Deepwater Horizon rig.
Under the agreement, the $1 billion would resolve civil penalties under the CWA. In addition, Transocean and its entities would implement court-enforceable measures to improve safety and emergency response systems at all drilling rigs they own and operate in U.S. waters.
On Feb. 14, U.S. Judge Jane Triche Milazzo of the Eastern District of Louisiana accepted Transocean's guilty plea for criminal violations of the CWA, which will require the company to pay $400 million.
Peter Frost of the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., and Sharon D. Smith of the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Orleans are counsel for the government.
Brad D. Brian, Michael R. Doyen, Luis Li and Daniel B. Levin of Munger Tolles & Olson in Los Angeles, Steven L. Roberts and Rachel G. Clingman of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan in Houston and Richard Sauber of Robbins Russell Englert Orseck Untereiner & Sauber in Washington represent Transocean.
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