Transocean’s accountability or the lack of it

Without taking any of BP’s responsibility away from them, the farce called ‘Justice for All’ should stop. It’s time to bring in in front of the fierce and hypocritical Congressional Hearing the other partners in crime, namely Transocean Ltd and Halliburton.

I started digging for information on Transocean, and the more I read, the more disgusted I am.

First of all, Transocean is the biggest contractor of offshore oilrigs in the world.
With drilling rigs and other vessels servicing the rigs, Transocean Ltd has about 141 vessels, 14 of them alone in the Gulf of Mexico. Following is a picture representing the platforms currently in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Transocean/s vessels sail under various obscure flags: Marshall Islands, Panama and Liberia.
Because Deepwater Horizon is Marshall Islands flagged- along with 34 other rigs- the primary responsibility for safety and other inspections rested not with the U.S. government but with the Republic of the Marshall Islands. The Republic of Marshall Islands outsourced the inspections to private contractors, making the whole situation a lot more stinkier.
Transocean moved their legal domiciles first to Cayman Island, then to Switzerland to avoid paying U.S. taxes. According to Martin Sullivan, contributing editor of Tax Analysts, the move saved Transocean a grand total of $1.88 billion in taxes, since 2002.

As it can be seen, Transocean is not really a poor company, about to go bankrupt. They should face the music and part the guilt with BP. Instead of that, they shamelessly cited an 1851 law requesting that its liability to be limited to $27 million. That would be the cost of the sunken vessel

‘While the company may not succeed in limiting its financial liability, the filing could give Transocean an edge in what could be a lengthy, multipronged legal battle against claims for damages from the accident that killed 11 workers

Zug, Switzerland-based Transocean also said it contests any liability arising from claims filed under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, enacted after 1989’s Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska, for damages from the oil emanating from the sea floor. Under the Oil Pollution Act and the British company’s contract with Transocean, oil-field owner BP is responsible for paying clean-up costs, and executives of the London-based company have said they will foot the bill and honour legitimate damage claims.
“We expect that BP will honour that contract,” Transocean Chief Executive Steven Newman said last week during a conference call on the company’s earnings. ‘
(Source: MarketWatch)

In case you are curious to know how much insurance money we are talking about, the company said it has received $481 million of the $560 million it expects in insurance proceeds to cover the cost of its oil drilling rig.
Of the insurance money, Transocean predicts an accounting gain of $270 million for the total loss of the rig.

Transocean’s rigs are leased to various companies like: BP, Chevron, Stateoil, Total, Anadarko, Husky (now I am officially worried) etc. The rigs were commissioned over 30 something years and had been build at various shipyards, spread from Spain to Korea.

At this point in time, I really don’t believe that we actually know the full extend of the damages or that we have been told the true story. It’s more interesting to figure out what it has not been told; however probably it’s classified information that will be buried for the next century or so.

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