US nears deal with Transocean over Gulf oil spill

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Associated Press

Posted on January 3, 2013 at 11:01 AM

Updated Thursday, Jan 3 at 11:01 AM

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department is nearing a $1.4 billion settlement with Transocean Ltd., the owner of the drilling rig that sank after an explosion killed 11 workers and spawned the massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Two people with knowledge of the negotiations say Switzerland-based Transocean would pay the money to resolve the department's civil and criminal investigation of the company's role in the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The announcement could come as soon as Thursday.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement hadn't been made.

One of the people, a law enforcement official familiar with the deal, said Transocean would pay $1 billion in civil penalties, $400 million in criminal penalties and would plead guilty to violating the Clean Water Act.

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