Halliburton Pleads Guilty to Destruction of Evidence

MarineLink.com
Monday, July 29, 2013

Halliburton Energy Services Inc. has agreed to plead guilty to destroying evidence in connection with the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the Department of Justice announced today. A criminal information charging Halliburton with one count of destruction of evidence was filed today in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Halliburton has signed a cooperation and guilty plea agreement with the government in which Halliburton has agreed to plead guilty and admit its criminal conduct. As part of the plea agreement, Halliburton has further agreed, subject to the court’s approval, to pay the maximum-available statutory fine, to be subject to three years of probation and to continue its cooperation in the government’s ongoing criminal investigation. Separately, Halliburton made a voluntary contribution of $55 million to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation that was not conditioned on the court’s acceptance of its plea agreement.

According to court documents, on April 20, 2010, while stationed at the Macondo well site in the Gulf of Mexico, the Deepwater Horizon rig experienced an uncontrolled blowout and related explosions and fire, which resulted in the deaths of 11 rig workers and the largest oil spill in U.S. history. Following the blowout, Halliburton conducted its own review of various technical aspects of the well’s design and construction. On or about May 3, 2010, Halliburton established an internal working group to examine the Macondo well blowout, including whether the number of centralizers used on the final production casing could have contributed to the blowout. A production casing is a long, heavy metal pipe set across the area of the oil and natural gas reservoir. Centralizers are protruding metal collars affixed at various intervals on the outside of the casing. Use of centralizers can help keep the casing centered in the wellbore away from the surrounding walls as it is lowered and placed in the well. Centralization can be significant to the quality of subsequent cementing around the bottom of the casing. Prior to the blowout, Halliburton had recommended to BP the use of 21 centralizers in the Macondo well. BP opted to use six centralizers instead.

As detailed in the information, in connection with its own internal post-incident examination of the well, in or about May 2010, Halliburton, through its Cementing Technology Director, directed a Senior Program Manager for the Cement Product Line (Program Manager) to run two computer simulations of the Macondo well final cementing job using Halliburton’s Displace 3D simulation program to compare the impact of using six versus 21 centralizers. Displace 3D was a next-generation simulation program that was being developed to model fluid interfaces and their movement through the wellbore and annulus of a well. These simulations indicated that there was little difference between using six and 21 centralizers. Program Manager was directed to, and did, destroy these results.

In or about June 2010, similar evidence was also destroyed in a later incident. Halliburton’s Cementing Technology Director asked another, more experienced, employee (“Employee 1”) to run simulations again comparing six versus 21 centralizers. Employee 1 reached the same conclusion and, like Program Manager before him, was then directed to “get rid of” the simulations.

Efforts to forensically recover the original destroyed Displace 3D computer simulations during ensuing civil litigation and federal criminal investigation by the Deepwater Horizon Task Force were unsuccessful.

In agreeing to plead guilty, Halliburton has accepted criminal responsibility for destroying the aforementioned evidence.

The guilty plea agreement and criminal charge announced today are part of the ongoing criminal investigation by the Deepwater Horizon Task Force into matters related to the April 2010 Gulf oil spill. The Deepwater Horizon Task Force, based in New Orleans, is supervised by Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman and led by John D. Buretta, who serves as the director of the task force. The task force includes prosecutors from the Criminal Division and the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice; the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana and other U.S. Attorney’s Offices; and investigating agents from: the FBI; Department of the Interior, Office of Inspector General; Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division; Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Inspector General; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Law Enforcement; U.S. Coast Guard; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.

The case is being prosecuted by Deepwater Horizon Task Force Director John D. Buretta, Deputy Directors Derek A. Cohen and Avi Gesser, and task force prosecutors Richard R. Pickens II, Scott M. Cullen, Colin Black and Rohan Virginkar.

An information is merely a charge and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
 

Maritime Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter January 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Legal

Containers to Be Weighed Before Departure

In a new measure aiming to minimize the number of shipping accidents, packed containers intended to be carried on international sea voyages must be weighed before being loaded, starting July 1, 2016.

Noncompliant Cargo Ship Banned from Australia

The 86-meter general cargo ship Noah Satu has been prohibited from entering or using any Australian ports for the second time in less than 12 months, following another round of safety,

Grounded Giant Chinese Boxship Freed

One of the world's largest container ships has been freed from a mud bank after running aground almost a week ago near Germany's largest port of Hamburg, German authorities said on Tuesday.

Casualties

Grounded Giant Chinese Boxship Freed

One of the world's largest container ships has been freed from a mud bank after running aground almost a week ago near Germany's largest port of Hamburg, German authorities said on Tuesday.

Migrants Reaching Europe by Sea Soars 10-fold

Ten times as many migrants and refugees arrived in Europe by sea in the first six weeks of the year as in the same period of 2015, and the number of deaths also soared,

EU Pulls Plug on Back-Up Nav System

A British-led initiative to create a back-up to satellite navigation systems for ships has been pulled after failing to garner interest from other European countries,

News

OTC Names 2016 Award Winners

The 2016 Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) will honor this year’s Distinguished Achievement Award recipients on Tuesday, 3 May, in Houston.   As part of the

AIWA Highlights Investment Needs on the Nation’s Marine Highways

Nowhere is that more important than on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. As 2016 begins, we at the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association (AIWA) are looking

Pentagon: Cut in LCS Ship Program 'Not an Indictment'

U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work said the Pentagon's plan to truncate the Littoral Combat Ship program at 40 ships instead of 52 reflected budget pressures

People in the News

OTC Names 2016 Award Winners

The 2016 Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) will honor this year’s Distinguished Achievement Award recipients on Tuesday, 3 May, in Houston.   As part of the

ABS' Tikka Elected Foreign Member of NAE

ABS, a provider of classification services to the global marine and offshore industries, announced the election of ABS Europe and Africa Division President Dr.

Great Lakes Shippers Set Top Priorities

North America’s largest mining, manufacturing and agricultural companies have helped identify four top priorities to improve the competitiveness of Great Lakes shipping,

Offshore Energy

OTC Names 2016 Award Winners

The 2016 Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) will honor this year’s Distinguished Achievement Award recipients on Tuesday, 3 May, in Houston.   As part of the

Wood Group Extends North Sea Chevron Contract

Wood Group has secured an extension to continue to support Chevron Upstream Europe across four offshore assets in the North Sea. Wood Group PSN (WGPSN) will deliver

QP, Chevron Ink Offshore Moroccan Deal

Qatar Petroleum has reached an agreement with Chevron Morocco Exploration Ltd., a subsidiary of Chevron Corporation, to acquire a 30% participating interest from

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Pod Propulsion Salvage Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1176 sec (9 req/sec)