The Noble Discoverer. Image courtesy of Royal Dutch Shell.

Noble Corporation agreed Monday to pay $12.2 million to settle felony charges brought by the U.S. Department of Justice tied to the company’s drilling operations in offshore Alaska.

The DOJ alleged Noble violated safety, environmental and record keeping laws for ships deployed in U.S Arctic waters.

In 2012, the Noble Discoverer drillship suffered numerous problems with its main propulsion system and main engine, causing equipment failures, engine shutdowns and creating unsafe conditions, the DOJ said.

At the time, the ship was under contract with Royal Dutch Shell for work at Shell’s Chukchi Sea licenses.

UK-based Noble acknowledged it failed to report the hazardous conditions to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The company was also charged with failing to keep proper records for its operation of the Shell owned Kulluk drilling ship that ran aground in December 2012 following work in the Beaufort Sea.

Under the settlement, Noble pleaded guilty to eight felony charges and paid $8.2 million in fines and $4 million in community service payments.

The company will be on probation for four years and must also carry out a comprehensive compliance plan.

Noble said it has made “significant improvements” to the Discoverer since 2013, Reuters said.


Leave a Reply