Transocean settlement of Gulf spill heads to court

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Transocean Ltd. has made an initial court appearance in New Orleans for its plea agreement with the Justice Department over the company's role in the massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Transocean did not immediately enter a plea Wednesday to a misdemeanor charge of violating the Clean Water Act.

Transocean has agreed to pay $400 million in criminal penalties, plead guilty to the charge and pay $1 billion in civil penalties. It isn't expected to enter the plea until next month.

U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo has scheduled a Feb. 14 hearing to decide whether to accept the criminal settlement.

Transocean owned the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which sank after an explosion killed 11 workers and triggered the spill. BP PLC leased the rig from Transocean.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

1/9/2013 2:36:35 PM (GMT -6:00)

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