Transocean, owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig at the centre of BP’s Gulf of Mexico blowout, has reached a .4bn settlement with the Department of Justice to settle criminal and civil charges.
The Swiss-based rig operator has been in the dock since April 2010 saw the worst spill in American history. The bn in civil penalties and 0m in criminal ones is in line with what the company was expecting.
A formal statement had not been released on Thursday night but sources in the US confirmed the two sides had reached a deal far lower than the .5bn agreed by BP, which only covered criminal claims.
Shares in Transocean soared 10% as Wall Street investors saw a major cloud being lifted. Transocean had said in a regulatory filing three months ago that it had discussed a .5bn settlement with the DoJ but had set aside a bn fund for paying claims related to the Macondo disaster, when 11 lives were lost.
Despite the problems BP reported profits of more than bn for 2011 but Transocean recorded a loss of about .7bn, hit by contingencies for the Deepwater Horizon and other market problems.
In November Transocean reported a 1m quarterly financial loss and unveiled plans to sell off 38 shallow-water rigs to concentrate on the more lucrative deep water drilling end of the market.
The company has been awarded 10-year contracts by Shell for four new drillships which will suck in .6bn of revenue from 2015 and the following year, and it has had a ban partially lifted that would have kept it out of the growing Brazilian offshore sector. This followed a 2011 oil spill by operator Chevron.
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