Here’s What Transocean’s Guilty Plea Means

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As part of the settlement, the company must also implement measures to improve safety and emergency response on its rigs.

Furthermore, Transocean must arrange a settlement with the plaintiffs’ committee that represents more than 100,000 individuals and business owners claiming medical and economic damages.

With U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo agreeing to the deal, the last legal hurdle ahead of the civil trial due to begin later this month has been cleared. In her ruling, Milazzo wrote that the large fine was a good example of the “deterrent effect of the plea process,” when compared to the relatively small fine Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) received for the 1989 Valdez oil spill in Alaska, according to Reuters.

Exxon was only given a $25 million criminal fine and a $100 million penalty for restitution.

The nine-month long deepwater drilling ban that followed the disaster has come and gone, but authorities are still handing out punishments to both companies. The upcoming trial, which will begin in New Orleans on February 25, could result in Clean Water Act fines of up to $21 billion for BP if it is found to have acted with gross negligence.

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