Halliburton Pleads Guilty to Destroying Oil Spill Evidence…but Corporations Don’t Go to Jail
Halliburton has agreed to plead guilty to destroying evidence in connection with the Deepwater Horizon disaster, which will result in the company paying a nominal fine but no officials going to jail.
The U.S. Department of Justice charged Halliburton with one count of destruction of evidence. As a result of pleading guilty, the corporation will pay $200,000, the maximum allowable under the law, and be subject to three years of probation.
Halliburton also agreed to continue its cooperation in the government’s criminal investigation of the accident that killed 11 rig workers on April 20, 2010, and created the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
Following the blowout of the undersea well, Halliburton tried to shift the blame to BP, the British oil company, saying that Halliburton recommended the well include 21 metal centralizers to stabilize the cementing. BP chose to use six instead.
Then, during an internal probe, Halliburton twice told its workers to destroy computer simulations that showed little difference between using six and 21 centralizers, according to the Justice Department. Nevertheless, Halliburton continued to say that BP should have followed its advice.
Businesses and others impacted by the oil spill had long accused Halliburton of conducting undocumented cement tests and hiding the results.
Thomas Roth, a senior company executive who was in charge of cementing operations when the spill occurred, testified during a civil suit that because of the well design and other factors, “the cement placement was going to be a job that would have a low probability of success.”
To Learn More:
Halliburton Agrees to Plead Guilty to Destruction of Evidence in Connection with Deepwater Horizon Tragedy (U.S. Department of Justice)
Halliburton Pleads Guilty to Destroying Evidence After Gulf Spill (by Clifford Krauss, New York Times)
BP Accuses Halliburton of Destroying Gulf Oil Spill Evidence (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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