$211M settlement reached with Transocean in 2010 oil spill

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A committee of lawyers representing businesses and individuals who claim damages from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill announced a $211 million settlement Wednesday with Transocean Ltd., owner of the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.

BP leased the rig from Transocean. The April 2010 explosion of the rig killed 11 workers and sent oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days.

Court rulings have put the brunt of responsibility for the disaster on BP. But Transocean and Houston-based cement contractor Halliburton also were found to have some responsibility.

Halliburton reached a $1 billion settlement with plaintiffs last year.

Notice of the preliminary settlement agreement has not yet been filed in federal court in New Orleans, where U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier presides over the oil spill cases. A release from the Plaintiffs Steering Committee said the settlement is worth nearly $211.8 million.

The settlement will involve two classes of businesses and individuals. One class is already part of a settlement BP reached with plaintiffs in the case in 2012. The other is a new "punitive damages class" that for various reasons was not included in the BP settlement, perhaps because its members opted out or because they were not deemed by the courts to be eligible.

BP spokesman Geoff Morrell issued a statement Wednesday evening saying the company was pleased that the settlement had been reached.