BP Spill Defendant Transocean Said to Settle Claims

Transocean Ltd. will settle all federal claims over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and spill in the Gulf of Mexico for between $1.4 billion and $1.5 billion, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The agreement, which will include a plea to criminal charges, will be announced today, said the people, who declined to be identified because the matter isn’t public. The plea won’t include any manslaughter charges related to the 11 deaths in the explosion, said one of the people.

The company will pay $1 billion to resolve civil claims and $400 million in criminal penalties, one of the people said. Both declined to be identified because the matter isn’t public. Transocean had earlier disclosed that the company was discussing a $1.5 billion settlement with the U.S.

The blowout and explosion aboard Transocean’s drilling rig killed 11 workers and sent millions of barrels of crude leaking into the gulf. The accident prompted hundreds of lawsuits against BP Plc, owner of the well, and Halliburton Co., which provided cementing services.

BP had previously agreed to pay $4 billion to the U.S. Justice Department to resolve charges connected to the spill and $525 million to settle the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s claim that the company misled investors about the rate of oil flowing into the gulf.

The case is In re Oil Spill by the Oil Rig Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, MDL-2179, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans).

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