A subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to pay $3.8 million to the U.S. government to settle a lawsuit over a 2016 oil spill that poured nearly 2,000 barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, court records filed Thursday show.
The May 11, 2016, spill occurred about 97 miles off the Louisiana coast. It was discovered after a helicopter spotted a 13-mile sheen about 90 miles south of Timbalier Island, according to news reports at the time.
An investigation pointed to a leak in a piping system that is used to transport oil from a production well on the sea floor, the documents show.
Oil got as close as 75 miles from shore before a five-day cleanup ended after high winds caused much of the oil to be mixed into the water column. Shell reported that 1,926 barrels, or 80,892 gallons, of oil leaked.
Under the terms of the settlement, Shell Offshore admits no liability but will pay a little more than $3.8 million to the United States. Another $37,720 will be paid for damages incurred by Louisiana.
Although it has been filed in court, the settlement is not final. It must first be published in the Federal Register and have a 30-day public comment period.
If, after the comment period, the state and federal authorities still believe the settlement is viable, they will ask U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon to sign off on the agreement.