Department of Justice Logo and United States Attorney's Office Header

Oct. 12, 2011

(713) 567-9388

Civil Action Filed Against Transocean

HOUSTON – A civil action has been filed in federal court to enforce administrative subpoenas issued to Transocean Deepwater Drilling Inc. by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB), United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.

CSB is a federal agency charged by Congress with the responsibility to investigate the causes of industrial accidents for the purpose of developing safety recommendations and promoting improved industrial chemical safety. The CSB conducts “all cause” investigations that broadly examine the adequacy of regulations, industry standards and technical, organizational and safety culture issues to prevent major accidents. The CSB is authorized by federal law to issue and serve administrative subpoenas to relevant parties in furtherance of its investigations. Should those subpoenas be ignored or not complied with, the CSB has authority to request the U.S. Attorney to enforce the subpoenas in U.S. District Court.

The 25-page complaint filed by Magidson’s office alleges that Transocean failed to comply to the satisfaction of the CSB with several CSB administrative subpoenas related to the CSB’s investigation of the tragic Macondo Well blowout which occurred in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010. The complaint includes details of Transocean’s alleged failure to comply with CSB’s subpoenas and is supported by a detailed sworn affidavit of Donald Holmstrom, director of CSB’s Western Regional Office in Denver, Colo. The affidavit notes that Transocean failed to respond sufficiently to 38 of 39 specific demands contained in five CSB subpoenas issued between Nov. 24, 2010, and April 7, 2011.

As stated in Mr. Holmstrom’s affidavit, “Transocean’s ongoing failure to provide information has impeded and delayed the CSB’s critical safety inquiry. Transocean’s production of information in compliance with these subpoenas is required to evaluate Transocean’s internal safety culture, managerial decision making and incident response mechanisms. The CSB also seeks information from Transocean to determine what role human factors may have played in the events leading up to the blowout and explosion.”