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Halliburton affiliate to plead guilty to destroying evidence over Gulf oil spill

26 July 2013

Halliburton Energy Services will plead guilty to destroying evidence relating to the 2010 Gulf Of Mexico oil spill, according to the US Department of Justice. The plea agreement, which is subject to court approval, means the company will have to pay the maximum possible fine of $200,000.

Photo: USCG
Photo: USCG

HBP had accused Houston-based Halliburton, its contractor, of destroying evidence and asked it to pay for all damages.

The oil spill at BP's Macondo well, the worst in US history, followed a blast and fire that destroyed the Deepwater Horizon rig and killed 11 workers.

"A Halliburton subsidiary has agreed to plead guilty to one misdemeanour violation associated with the deletion of records created after the Macondo well incident, to pay the statutory maximum fine of $200,000 and to accept a term of three years probation," the company said in a statement.

The company has also made a $55 million dollar contribution to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. This was not a condition of the court agreement.

Halliburton Energy Services was BP's cement contractor on the Deepwater Horizon and in May 2010 a company programme manager ran two computer simulations of the Macondo well final cementing job using Halliburton's Displace 3D simulation programme.

It recommended the use of 21 centralisers but BP decided to use six instead, and the simulations indicated there was little difference between the two options, The programme manager "was directed to, and did, destroy these results", the Justice Department said. Similar evidence was destroyed in a subsequent incident in June 2010.

Halliburton and BP have blamed each other for the failure of the cement job to seal the Macondo well. During a trial, BP asked a federal judge to sanction Halliburton for allegedly destroying evidence about the role that its cement slurry design could have played in the blowout.

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