Transocean to pay $1.4 bn for 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill

The owner of the drilling rig that exploded leading to  the massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico would shell out $1.4 billion in criminal and civil penalties, the justice department said Thursday.

The company has agreed to accept part responsibility for its role in the Gulf disaster, which took place after its Deepwater Horizon rig caught fire and killed 11 people.

The company would pay $1 billion towards resolution of civil claims and $400 million in criminal penalties, and would plead guilty to one misdemeanor violation of the Clean Water Act.

According to analysts, Transocean's punishment was far less severe than that of British oil giant BP, which had leased the rig at the time of the blowout. BP had already agreed to a $4.5 billion payment in penalties even as it pleaded guilty to 11 felony counts of manslaughter and other criminal charges.

Additionally, the London-based oil giant also faced civil claims potentially worth billions of dollars from the US government.

The settlement marks a closure to the Department of Justice's criminal investigation of Transocean. ''This is a positive step forward, but it is also a time to reflect on the 11 men who lost their lives aboard the Deepwater Horizon,'' the Switzerland-based company said in a statement.