No. of Recommendations: 2
Hi everyone,

Bikerliz brought to my attention something I had missed while on vacation -- the fact that Transocean had settled both criminal and civil charges with the Dept. of Justice. Note that the two judges overseeing these cases (one for criminal, one for civil) still have to sign off on this deal and the civil settlement has to go through public review, which will take a few months, but I expect that to happen. This will not affect future earnings as the company has already set aside $1.5 billion as a contingent liability for this. (Coincidence? I think not.)

I think this is great news for the company and should relieve a lot of the litigation risk the company has been facing for the past couple of years.

Now it appears that the only other bad thing that could happen from the Macondo well fallout is that the company could be found liable for violations of the Oil Pollution Act (the company referred to this as the Natural Resources Damage Assessment process). However, a district court judge had previously found that the indemnify clauses of its contract with BP protected Transocean from damages arising from subsurface oil discharge and it would only be liable for any above surface discharge, which I believe was minimal. It would take a higher court to overturn this ruling (it is under appeal), but I feel that the damage to contract law such an overturn would cause weighs in the company's favor.

Assuming that the courts agree to this deal and that the company wins any appeals on the above situation (which would take a few years), Transocean and investors can put Macondo behind and move forward.

Right now, Transocean sits at a 5.4% position of total investable funds through this year (ending 10/31/13) and my confidence in this position has always been high, so I'll likely add a few more shares to this to bring it up to 7%.

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