Minority owner of Macondo well to pay $90 million in record settlement

Crews suck up oil from the Deepwater Horizon disaster in Grand Isle, Louisiana, on June 9, 2010.

Story highlights

  • MOEX Offshore owned 10% of the well that was involved in the 2010 Gulf oil disaster
  • The settlement is the largest civil penalty ever recovered under the Clean Water Act
  • The three-month-long spill was the largest oil spill in U.S. history

MOEX Offshore, the minority owner of a well that was the source of the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, has agreed to a partial settlement with the federal government.

The company, a subsidiary of the MOEX USA Corporation owned by Mitsui Oil Exploration Co., Ltd., will pay a total of $90 million in the settlement, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday.

MOEX, which owned 10% of the Macondo well, has agreed to pay $70 million in civil penalties to fulfill its share of alleged violations of the Clean Water Act. Of that amount, $45 million will go toward the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, which pays for any response actions, cleanup and damages caused by future spills.

Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Texas will receive $25 million divvied up between the states accordingly.

The remaining $20 million will go to land acquisition projects in several Gulf states with the aim of funding environmental and natural resource-protected habitats.

"The companies are pleased to have resolved these claims," a spokesman for MOEX said Friday.

The settlement is the largest civil penalty ever recovered under the Clean Water Act, instituted in 1972.

"The Department of Justice has not wavered in its commitment to hold all responsible parties fully accountable for what stands as the largest oil spill in U.S. history," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. "This landmark settlement is an important step -- but only a first step -- toward achieving accountability and protecting the future of the Gulf ecosystem by funding critical habitat preservation projects."

The three-month-long spill was triggered after an explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig on April 20, 2010. Eleven people were killed in the blast.

MOEX is the first company to settle with the U.S. government, which still has several claims outstanding against eight other defendants -- including BP Exploration and Production Inc., the majority owner on the doomed well.