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Gulf spill company hands out safety bonuses
Company whose rig caused biggest oil spill in US history rewards executives for "best year in safety performance".
Last Modified: 03 Apr 2011 14:37
A recent survey in Louisiana found a high number of people who say they are getting ill more often [Al Jazeera]

Transocean Ltd., the owner of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that exploded off the Gulf of Mexico last year, has given its top executives bonuses for achieving the "best year in safety performance in our company's history'',
despite the blast that killed 11 people and spilled 200 million gallons of oil into the ocean.

Transocean noted "the tragic loss of life'' in the Gulf when the rig operated by BP PLC exploded last April. But it said the company still had an "exemplary'' safety record because it met or exceeded certain internal safety targets concerning the frequency and severity of its accidents, according to the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday.

Safety accounts for a quarter of the executives' total cash bonuses. The total bonus for CEO Steve Newman last year was $374,062.

The company said in a regulatory filing that its most senior managers were given two thirds of their total possible safety bonus.

The company said its bonuses were appropriate as a way to recognise its executives' efforts in "significantly improving the company's safety record'' and implementing a new internal planning system.

Those efforts have "enabled the company to maintain its financial flexibility during a challenging period, while, at the same time, positioning the company for sustained growth in the future.''

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera has learned that a recent survey carried out in southern Louisiana, one of the worst affected areas, found a high number of people who say they are getting ill more often and their sickness is consistent with chemical exposure.

The massive oil spill sent dangerous compounds into the ocean; one of them was benzene which can cause cancer, as well as a chemical dispersant that was added to the oil to break it up.

Transocean's Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion on April 20 in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 workers and set off the largest offshore oil spill in US history.

A commission appointed by Barack Obama, the US president, earlier this year said the explosion was caused by a series of time and money-saving decisions by Transocean, BP and oil services company Halliburton Inc. that created an unacceptable amount of risk.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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