Yes, you read the title of this post correctly: Transocean Ltd., the company that owned the Deepwater Horizon Gulf Oil Rig that blew up last year and proceeded to spew at least 200 millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, is actually awarding financial bonuses to its senior executives for – of all things – the “best year in safety performance in our company’s history.”
I’ve seen a lot of examples of corporate arrogance, lies, greed and deceit, but this has to rank up there with some of the worst. This company contributed to probably the worst environmental disaster and toxic tort this nation has ever seen, with the full effects not yet even being fully measured or fully felt. Its negligence, documented as being fueled by corporate cost-cutting, resulted in the deaths of 11 oil rig workers. It partnered with two other companies – BP PLC and Halliburton, Inc., who flagrantly and consistently lied to the public and to the government about the true nature and extent of the disaster. It contributed to thousands of people losing their jobs or their careers in the commercial fishing and hospitality industries, who are still suffering economically – and it has the audacity to hand out millions in cash bonuses to its executives. As has been said before, “You can’t make this stuff up.”
In regulatory papers filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last Friday Transocean noted “the tragic loss of life” in the Gulf when the rig operated by BP PLC exploded last April. Large of them, wasn’t that? Despite the devastating fiasco that occurred on their rig, the company got out its bean counters, and found a way to claim that it still had an “exemplary” safety record, because supposedly Transocean “met or exceeded” certain internal (i.e., its own) safety objectives regarding the frequency and severity of its accidents. “Safety” accounts for approximately 25 per cent of senior executives’ total cash bonuses at Transocean. Apprarently, greed and negligence account for the other 75 per cent. CEO Steve Newman’s bonus (alone) last year amounted to $374,062. In case you’re curious, the total pay works out as follows: A base salary of $850,000; “perks” of $622,057, which includes housing and vacation allowances (and other things); on top of the $374,062 bonus. Folded into this figure are also Transocean stock options valued at $1.9 million and deferred shares valued at $2 million.