Halliburton to plead guilty to destroying oil spill evidence

A company subsidiary destroyed computer simulations run in the wake of the 2010 Gulf oil spill

A unit of Halliburton Co. has admitted to destroying evidence connected to the exploded oil well responsible for the 2010 Gulf oil spill.

The Department of Justice said Thursday that Halliburton Energy Services Inc. conducted—and subsequently destroyed the results of—two computer simulations of the Macondo well cement job. The company wanted to determine whether the number of cement stabilizers used in the well was responsible for the explosion that sent almost 5 billion barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Halliburton recommended that 21 of those “centralizers” be used in the well, but BP used just six. The company hoped to show that BP was at fault for using fewer stabilizers than necessary, and destroyed the computer simulations when they showed that the extra stabilizers would not have made a difference.

In addition to pleading guilty, Halliburton also agreed to pay a $200,000 fine, accept a three-year probation term and cooperate in the ongoing criminal investigation into the spill, Bloomberg reports. The company also made a $55 million “voluntary contribution” to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

In light of the guilty plea, the DOJ will not pursue any further criminal charges against Halliburton or its subsidiaries.

For more InsideCounsel coverage of the Gulf oil spill, see:

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BP enters plea in Gulf oil spill criminal case

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Alanna Byrne

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