Transocean executives to donate safety bonuses

Paula Dittrick
OGJ Senior Staff Writer

HOUSTON, Apr. 6 -- Transocean Ltd.'s senior executives said they voluntary plan to donate their 2010 safety bonuses to the Deepwater Horizon Memorial Fund, which will distribute the money to the families of the 11 people killed in the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon semisubmersible drilling rig.

The announcement followed widespread media reports about a proxy statement in which the drilling contractor reported its “best year in safety performance” during 2010 despite the Deepwater Horizon accident and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico following the blowout of the deepwater Macondo well off Louisiana. BP PLC operated Macondo.

US Department of Interior Sec. Ken Salazar criticized Transocean for its wording, saying Transocean was “at least at some fault” for the accident.

“In my own view, 2010 was probably the greatest year of pain in terms of oil and gas development in the deep water all across the world, especially in the Gulf of Mexico,” Salazar told Reuters.

Transocean executives received two-thirds of their safety bonus for 2010, which was unlike 2009 when Transocean withheld executive safety bonuses. Transocean reported its rate of incidents per 200,000 hr of work dropped 4% in 2010 compared with 2009. A measurement for the potential severity of those incidents dropped 15%.

Transocean established the Deepwater Horizon Memorial Fund after the Apr. 20, 2010, accident and oil spill. Of the 11 people killed, 9 worked for Transocean.

The nondeductible sum being donated by the senior executive team will exceed $250,000. More than $1.6 million was distributed to families by the Memorial Fund as of Apr. 5, Transocean said.

"The executive team made this decision because we believe it is the right thing to do," Chief Executive Officer Steven Newman said in an Apr. 5 statement. "Nothing is more important to Transocean than our people, and it was never our intent to diminish the effect the Macondo tragedy has had on those who lost loved ones. We offer our most sincere apologies, and we regret the impact this matter has had on the entire Transocean family."

Senior executives donating their safety bonuses, in addition to Newman, include Ricardo Rosa, senior vice-president and chief financial officer; Arnaud Bobillier, executive vice-president, asset and performance; Eric Brown, executive vice-president, legal; and Ihab Toma, executive vice-president, global business.

Contact Paula Dittrick at paulad@ogjonline.com.

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