Halliburton Pleads Guilty To Destroying Oil Spill Evidence

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Halliburton has admitted to destroying evidence in the Deepwater Horizon case. The company pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and will pay a $200,000 fine.


Today, a guilty plea in the case of the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico. A subsidiary of Halliburton has agreed to plead guilty to charges that it destroyed evidence connected to the disaster. The oil rig exploded in 2010, killing 11 workers, launching a massive oil spill. NPR's Jeff Brady tells us more.

JEFF BRADY, BYLINE: Halliburton was BP's cement contractor on the well. Halliburton told investigators that it warned BP to use additional centralizers. These are devices that hold pipes in place in a well. To bolster its case, Halliburton ran two computer simulations after the accident, but those simulations showed the number of centralizers didn't make a difference.

Despite being told to preserve all evidence, Halliburton deleted the results. Ed Sherman is a law professor at Tulane University.

ED SHERMAN: They destroyed it, those computerized studies, even though they might have been favorable to BP.

BRADY: Halliburton declined an interview request, but in a statement the company says it will plead guilty to one misdemeanor count. It agreed to three years' probation and will pay the maximum fine of $200,000. The company also will make a $55 million contribution to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Still, Sherman says this is a blow to Halliburton's reputation.

SHERMAN: It does, of course, leave a bad taste in terms of Halliburton's good faith.

BRADY: There's still a wide-ranging trial stemming from the Deepwater Horizon accident underway in New Orleans. The first phase has been argued, and a judge will decide how to allocate fault between BP, rig owner Transocean, and Halliburton. During that first phase of the trial, Halliburton said it only recently found cement samples that should have been turned over as evidence earlier.

This was nearly three years after the accident. Loyola University law professor Blaine Lecesne says the judge clearly was not happy about that.

BLAINE LECESNE: So what you have is a pattern of behavior which seemingly suggests deception by Halliburton in terms of withholding, hiding or actually destroying evidence that's relevant.

BRADY: The question now is whether the judge will decide to allocate more fault for the accident to Halliburton because of its behavior. Jeff Brady, NPR News.

Copyright © 2013 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from