$211-M settlement with rig owner in 2010 Gulf oil spill 

Plaintiffs in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill have reached a $211 million settlement with Transocean, the rig owner involved in the environmental disaster.

The Swiss-based oil drilling contractor company announced that it has reached agreements with a group of individual plaintiffs and BP, the oil company that operated the rig.

“These settlements together resolve substantially all outstanding claims against Transocean arising from April 20, 2010, Macondo Well Incident involving the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico,” Transocean said in a statement.

Deepwater Horizon, the name of the rig, exploded in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, killing 11 workers in the deadly blast and leaking an estimated 3.19 million barrels (over 130 million gallons) of oil. It was the largest accidental ocean spill in history, according to the Smithsonian Institution.

BP, which owned the Macondo well and its drilling employees, also agreed to settle nearly all remaining claims with Halliburton Co. (which cemented the well) and Transocean. BP will pay Transocean $125 million to reimburse it for legal fees, and has dropped all further claims.

“[The settlements] provide substantial closure to five years of litigation and we are confident that this agreement can be a significant step forward in our efforts to renew our partnership with BP,” said Jeremy Thigpen, president and chief executive officer of Transocean.

“The Macondo Well incident resulted from a complex series of causes and events,” Transocean said in a release. “These included mistakes made by multiple parties, including Transocean, from which the entire industry can learn and continue to improve safety in the drilling industry.”

According to the agreement, Transocean will pay two classes of plaintiffs under the agreement subject to approval by the US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, as well as an undetermined amount of lawyers’ fees.

Separately, Halliburton said it had reached a deal with BP to settle all remaining claims and counterclaims between the companies. The Houston-based oil-field service provider didn’t disclose the terms of the deal.

BP said it was “pleased to have resolved with Halliburton and Transocean the final remaining disputes stemming from the Deepwater Horizon accident. We have now settled all matters relating to the accident with both our partners in the well and our contractors.” (With reports from USA Today and Market Watch) 

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