Deepwater Horizon Rig Owner Transocean Gives Huge Bonuses to Execs Citing “Best Year in Safety” Ever


Just when you thought you’d heard it all concerning industry outrages, something like this comes up: One of the companies involved in the worst peacetime environmental disaster in human history is handing out multi-million-dollar bonuses to execs – citing “the best year in safety performance” ever.

Transocean, owner of the Deepwater Horizon rig (leased to BP), states in a required filing that “…notwithstanding the tragic loss of life in the Gulf of Mexico, we achieved an exemplary statistical safety record as measured by our total recordable incident rate and total potential severity rate…as measured by these standards, we recorded the best year in safety performance in our Company’s history, which is a reflection on our commitment to achieving an incident free environment, all the time, everywhere.”

They have to be kidding, right?

A still-reeling Gulf Coast learns from the Financial Times and other outlets that “…Transocean President and Chief Executive Officer Steven L. Newman received about $4.3 million in cash bonuses and stock and option awards. With other compensation – such as pension increases and cost of living, housing, and automobile allowances – Newman earned $6.6 million in 2010, almost $1 million more than in 2009.”

This comes on the heels of learning that BP claims czar Ken Feinberg’s law firm got a $400,000-per-month raise for its fine work, despite the fact that the Gulf Coast Claims Facility joins FEMA and NOAA as legendary bureaucratic failures for the region. For anyone living on the Gulf, it seems like the rich just keep getting richer – and everybody seems to be getting paid but the spill victims. By the way, Transocean maintains that it has zero liability for the BP spill.

Read more here about the latest slap in the face to Gulf residents:

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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