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Transocean Spill Settlement Heads to Court

Wed, 01/09/2013 - 5:02am

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Switzerland-based Transocean Ltd. is making its first court appearance Wednesday for its plea agreement with the U.S. Justice Department over the company's role in the massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Transocean has agreed to pay $400 million in criminal penalties and plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of violating the Clean Water Act. The company also agreed to pay $1 billion in civil penalties.

Transocean owned the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which sank after an explosion killed 11 workers and spawned the spill. London-based oil giant BP PLC leased the rig from Transocean.

Transocean is expected to enter its guilty plea next month. A U.S. district judge has scheduled a Feb. 14 hearing to decide whether to accept the criminal settlement.

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