Tags: US | Transocean | Bonuses

Owner of Sunken Oil Platform Had Safety Concerns

Tuesday, 04 May 2010 02:03 PM

Transocean Ltd., which owns the drilling rig where 11 workers died in an explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, eliminated bonuses for top executives last year after the deaths of four other workers.

The company said it eliminated the bonuses "to underscore the company's commitment to safety and to increase the incentive for executive officers to promote ... the avoidance of future fatal accidents."

Transocean's chairman and CEO told shareholders in a letter in March of a "thorough review" of safety practices taking place across the company.

The Swiss company disclosed the decision not to pay bonuses in a regulatory filing on April 1. Less than three weeks later, the company's Deepwater Horizon rig blew up and sank, spawning a huge oil spill that is now endangering wildlife and businesses along the Gulf's coastline. BP PLC leased the rig from Transocean.

Transocean spokesman Guy Cantwell said Tuesday that management recommended that the board not pay bonuses last year.

Cantwell said the four deaths in 2009 occurred on different rigs in four different countries. Reports on one death, in Azerbaijan, appeared in the media, but Cantwell declined to disclose other locations and whether any were in U.S. waters. None were related to drilling, he said.

Transocean is scheduled to report first-quarter financial results on Wednesday, followed by a conference call with analysts on Thursday. The company's annual shareholder meeting is planned for next week in Switzerland.

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