Transocean Oil Spill Hearings
Transocean CEO: Came Out Of Spill Hearings Relatively Unscathed
By Ryan Dezember, Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
HOUSTON -(Dow Jones)- Transocean Ltd. (RIG, RIGN.VX) Chief Executive Steven L. Newman said Friday that his company came away this week from the U.S. government’s hearings on the deadly Deepwater Horizon accident relatively unscathed and that the ocean driller has suffered no damage to its customer relationships from its involvement in this summer’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Geneva-based Transocean owned the Deepwater Horizon, which was leased to BP PLC (BP, BP.LN) to drill its Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico. The rig caught fire on April 20 and eventually sank, killing 11 workers and unleashing the largest marine oil spill in U.S. history.
Earlier this week a presidential panel investigating the causes of the accident held hearings in Washington, D.C., to release its preliminary findings and grill executives of Transocean, BP and Halliburton Co. (HAL), which did cementing work on the doomed well.
“We came out of the commission’s hearing about as well as we could have,” Newman said during a webcast meeting with investors.
Of the commission’s 13 preliminary findings, Newman said he most “strenuously disagrees” with implications that Transocean employees misinterpreted test results that might have alerted rig workers to problems with the well. Newman said BP was solely responsible for reviewing test data.
Transocean’s “customer relationships have not suffered” because of the company’s involvement in the Deepwater Horizon disaster, Newman said.
The uncertainty surrounding U.S. offshore drilling, particularly in deepwater, will have a “limited near-term financial impact” on Transocean, which has 12 rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, Newman said. The company expects the slowdown in Gulf oil drilling permits to reduce fourth quarter revenue by about $200 million, he said.
Transocean expects “normalized” activity in the Gulf by mid 2011, Newman said.
Shares of Transocean traded down $2.32, or 3.34%, at $67.07 in Friday trading amid broader market declines.
-By Ryan Dezember, Dow Jones Newswires; 713-547-9208; ryan.dezember@ dowjones.com