Halliburton Destroys BP Oil Spill Evidence, Gets an Underwhelming $200K Fine (But That's Not the End of the Story)

Categories: Environment

bpoil_coast_guard.jpg
Photo from the U.S. Coast Guard
British Petroleum has been synonymous with the Gulf Coast Oil spill -- called the worst environmental disaster in American history by some -- since the Deepwater Horizon rig blew out on April 20, 2010, killing 11 and starting a leak that dumped almost 5 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

After the well blew out, all the parties involved -- BP, Halliburton and Transocean, the operator of the Deepwater rig -- were ordered to keep everything pertaining to the work being done on the well for the impending, inevitable investigation. All three companies have pleaded guilty to criminal charges in the years after the disaster, but BP has been the company most directly associated with the spill. (Who doesn't call it the *BP* oil spill?)
But as of now, BP is getting something of a break.

It turns out Halliburton (Yep, the one former Vice President Dick Cheney made a little more famous) didn't exactly follow instructions about the evidence, according to the Washington Post. Halliburton had advised the folks over at BP to use 21 centralizers -- metal collars placed on the outside of the steel pipe to help stabilize the pipe -- but BP only used six.

After the well blew, Halliburton employees ran simulations to test whether not using more centralizers contributed to the accident. That's all harmless enough, relatively speaking, but the Houston-based company proceeded to delete the tests, results and all, which went against federal investigator directions about as clearly as someone telling you to go right means you veer left.

Halliburton agreed to plead guilty to one count of destroying evidence in connection with the Deepwater disaster, according to the U.S. Justice Department. To settle things out, the company will pay $200,000, the maximum statutory fine, and has agreed to continue cooperating with the government's ongoing criminal investigation. Halliburton is also "voluntarily" donating $55 million to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.


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3 comments
Brazos
Brazos

This was a simulation test done after the accident.  What kept them from running the test again?  It's a simulation for pete's sake. Must be more to this.

fratdawgg23
fratdawgg23

Corporations want personhood when it benefits them; they want corporation protection when it benefits them. If Haliburton violates probation, they pay another fine, but no risk of being imprisoned.

We have become an azz clown of a country to place Big Business above the rights and benefits of We the People.

h_e_x
h_e_x

@fratdawgg23 But if we hold companies accountable for their actions the free market will weep.Those sea creatures and people living on the coast can move if they don't like it, or something like that.

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