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Transocean CEO admits the company could have done more to prevent rig explosion

Posted on by SST

During the trial regarding the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Transocean Ltd. CEO Steven Newman said the company could have done more to prevent the oil rig explosion. According to Reuters, Newman discussed the company's role and responsibilities on the well it owned before the explosion killed 11 people and caused the worst-ever offshore oil spill in the United States.

Newman said that even if Transocean employees made mistakes on the day of the explosion, they were not responsible for the overall safety on the rig, Reuters reported.

"We acknowledge that we should have done more," Newman said during the trial to determine who is to blame for the spill.

Newman, however,  denied any wrongdoing on Transocean's end involving safety procedures. 

"We get paid for 24 hours worth of work, so there's no incentive to take 24 hours worth of work and condense it into 23 hours," he said.

Transocean, along with British Petroleum (BP) and other companies involved in the deepwater well explosion, are facing a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Justice Department, the U.S. gulf states affected by the spill and other plaintiffs, Reuters reported.

BP officials said Transocean and the well's cement provider, Halliburton, share the blame in the explosion. However, Newman said Transocean was responsible for the safety performance of its own operations on the rig but BP held the overall responsibility for safety at the well site.

A Transocean employee said in New Orleans federal court that there was a misinterpretation of warning signs before the explosion occurred.

Payouts to defendants may increase
In January, Transocean agreed to pay $1.4 billion in criminal and civil fines and penalties after it pleaded guilty to federal charges concerning violations against the Clean Water Act, according to Reuters. Transocean admitted some of its staff was negligent in failing to investigate signs that the well was not secure and that oil and gas were flowing into the well. 

BP is also responsible for showing that its mistakes do not meet the legal definition of gross negligence required for the highest amount of damages. BP has  already spent or committed $37 billion on cleanup, restoration and payouts from the spill. That amount could continue to grow if the judge determines BP, Transocean or any other defendants were grossly negligent, the article stated.

A combustible gas leak detector can alert employees working in the oil and gas industry to hazardous conditions, such as the Gulf of Mexico oil rig explosion.

Industrial Safety News brought to you by Safety Systems Technology, Inc., leaders in fire and gas detection systems.

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