Oil company Taylor Energy Co LLC has agreed to transfer a $ 432 million cleanup trust account to the U.S. government and pay an additional $ 43 million to resolve a lawsuit over its role in the longest oil spill in history. from the United States in a draft agreement filed in New Orleans federal court on Wednesday.
The New Orleans company and federal officials filed a draft consent order to resolve claims arising from a 2004 incident when Hurricane Ivan caused one of the drilling rigs to collapse Taylor offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. The resulting oil spill has continued ever since, according to a Justice Department statement on the deal.
Taylor accepts no liability under the agreement, which is subject to final court approval. His lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Nicole LeBoeuf, director of the National Ocean Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said in a statement that the settlement “represents a significant down payment to deal with the impacts of the longest oil spill in United States history.” .
The collapse of the platform in 2004 damaged about two dozen oil wells. In 2007, the federal government ordered the company to plug and abandon the leaking wells, and in 2008 it entered into a trust agreement with Taylor to fund the remaining work.
As part of the proposed deal, Taylor will turn over the entire fund to the Home Office.
The consent decree also requires Taylor to pay more than $ 43 million in fines and funds to clean up oil pollution related to the incident and to compensate for oil damage to natural resources such as fish.
The amount represents the value of the company’s remaining assets, which will be liquidated, according to the DOJ statement.
Funds intended to compensate for damage to natural resources, $ 16.5 million, will be shared between the state of Louisiana and the federal government, the statement said.
The deal also says Taylor will drop three lawsuits against the United States in federal courts, including one seeking reimbursement for costs Taylor incurred for the cleanup.
Taylor exists today only as an entity tasked with responding to the oil spill, according to its website.
The DOJ statement says most of the leaking oil has been captured since mid-2019 by the US Coast Guard through a contractor.
The case is United States v. Taylor Energy Co LLC, US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, No. 2: 20-cv-02910.
For the United States of America: Rebecca Diaz of the United States Department of Justice
For Taylor Energy Co: Carl Rosenblum of Jones Walker