Ex-Halliburton official charged with destroying evidence in Gulf Oil spill disaster
September 22, 2013

Anthony Badalamenti, Halliburton Energy Services Inc.’s cementing technology director, was criminally charged with one count of destroying evidence related to the Deepwater Horizon disaster in federal court Thursday.

This is the latest twist in a legal battle involving oil giant BP and Halliburton, the company consulted on the drilling site’s cement wellhead. A federal report found that both companies shared blame for the wellhead failure, but Halliburton denied responsibility. In July 2013, Halliburton agreed to pay the maximum fine of $200,000 for destroying evidence that suggested BP was not responsible.

This whole saga began three years and five months ago, when a deepwater oil well in the Gulf of Mexico failed, causing an uncontrolled blowout on the Deepwater Horizon rig and an explosion that killed 11 people and resulted in the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

BP was the owner and operator of the Macondo well, and contracted with Halliburton to oversee cement pouring while the well was drilled. During this process, Halliburton recommended BP use 21 “centralizers” — metal collars that help stabilize the well casing. BP decided to go with 6 centralizers instead. The well failed in April 2010, and in May 2010 Halliburton did some sophisticated 3D simulations of the final cementing job to test if BP should have used more centralizers.

The testing, conducted in both May and June, found little difference between using 6 or 21 centralizers on the well. In both cases, the Senior Program Manager who conducted the simulations was directed to “get rid of” the results. The program manager “felt uncomfortable” with the instructions but complied.

The person that ordered the evidence to be destroyed, according to Thursday’s court filings, was Anthony Badalamenti.

Badalamenti is no longer cementing technology director, but the former senior employee was charged with instructing two other employees to delete the post-spill review data that showed no difference between using 6 and 21 centralizers. If the tests had shown that 21 would have been better, Halliburton would have had more of a case to claim that BP’s decision was what caused the failure.

Full article


Halliburton pleads guilty to destroying evidence in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill investigation

The U.S. government says that Halliburton accepted criminal responsibility for destroying evidence relating to whether the Macondo well blowout could have been prevented. 

Millions of gallons of oil poured into the Gulf after the April 20, 2010 explosion on an offshore rig killed 11 workers and ruptured BP’s deep-sea well.  

From the Reuters Archive: an oil-covered brown pelican sits in a pool of oil along Queen Bess Island Pelican Rookery, 3 miles northeast of Grand Isle, Louisiana on June 5, 2010. REUTERS/Sean Gardner; Smoke billows from a controlled burn of spilled oil off the Louisiana coast in the Gulf of Mexico coast line June 13, 2010. REUTERS/Sean Gardner 

Here’s where I think the real problem is: the Post Office is a public-private hybrid – it’s controlled by Congress, but receives no taxpayer money. They should flip that. That’s a terrible business plan. They should be more like Halliburton, which gets lots of taxpayer money, and is controlled by no one.
—  STEPHEN COLBERT, on how to fix the U.S. Postal Service’s financial woes, on The Colbert Report
US Issues Oil-Spill Violations to BP, Halliburton, Transocean

Absolutely worth reading in full. US calling for full accountability of the spill, including suing contractors. Companies aggressively appealing and could end up in the Supreme Court. Fines could reach $4,300 per barrel of oil leaked, up to $21 billion in fines.

U.S. offshore-drilling officials issued their first violations stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill Wednesday, accusing BP and two of its contractors of breaking several rules.

The citations were widely expected against BP, the operator of the Deepwater Horizon rig. But the government’s decision to pursue contractors Transocean and Halliburton for infractions jolted the contracting industry, which traditionally avoids liability in such accidents.

The decision to penalize the contractors “reflects the severity of the incident,” the Interior Department said in a statement. Interior officials are committed “to holding all parties accountable.”

The citations follow a months-long investigation by the Interior Department and Coast Guard. Interior said Wednesday it had identified 15 incidents of noncompliance with federal rules. Among them were the failure to perform operations in a safe manner and the failure to conduct accurate pressure-integrity tests.

BP spokesman Scott Dean said the violation make clear “contractors, like operators, are responsible” for their actions and “accountable to the U.S. government and the American public for their conduct.”

BP also used the findings to chide its partners in developing the Macondo well, which was being drilled by the Deepwater Horizon rig.

“We continue to encourage other parties, including Transocean and Halliburton, to acknowledge their responsibilities in the accident,” Dean added.

A Transocean representative said the company “intends to appeal its citations.”

Source: RigZone

Scandal brewing?: BP accuses Halliburton of Destroying Test Results On Deepwater Horizon Cement

“BP on Monday accused oilfield-services giant Halliburton of destroying unfavorable results from tests on cement used to plug the leaking well in the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Halliburton prepared the cement mix that BP had used to plug the deep-water well that blew out in April 2010, killing 11 and unleashing a huge oil spill. In a motion filed with a U.S. court in Louisiana, BP said that Halliburton’s own tests after the incident showed the cement slurry was unstable and claimed the company destroyed the results of the test and misplaced key data.

Halliburton destroyed the evidence "in part because it wanted to eliminate any risk that this evidence could be used against it at trial,” BP said in the filing"

Source: Rigzone

Halliburton Q3 beats, modest tone weighs on shares

Chief Executive Dave Lesar talked of the risk of decreased U.S. gas-directed drilling, and expected some rigs to be redeployed to liquids-rich regions, though he also noted such shifts can weigh on efficiency and financial performance.Kurt Hallead, analyst at RBC Capital Markets, pointed to the executives’ discussion of flat international pricing against seasonal weakness in North America as indicating fourth-quarter profit estimates would need to be trimmed from the current average of $1.03 per share.Halliburton’s profit surge in the past year has been driven by the need for drillers to tap its hydraulic fracturing expertise to extract oil and gas from U.S. shale rock"The bear case mentality is that U.S. fracking has peaked,“ Hallead said of what investors had to consider when buying the stock at this point in the cycle.After a rally on Friday, Halliburton shares fell as much as 7.8 percent on Monday, despite another strong quarterly performance.Third-quarter net profit rose to $683 million, or 74 cents per share, from $544 million or 60 cents per share a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, Halliburton earned 94 cents per share, topping analysts’ average estimate of 92 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.Revenue rose 40 percent to $6.55 billion. Analysts had expected $6.39 billion.Many analysts expect the North American shale boom to last at least through 2012, even with the weak American economy, as producers plow billions of dollars into developing U.S. oil shale fields.Lesar said Halliburton expects to have hired 17,000 people this year, including 12,000 in the United States, implying an increase in its worldwide headcount to about 77,000.While acknowledging some clients may cut back on spending, Lesar warned against comparisons with the drilling downturn of 2008. He cited the emergence of new U.S. oil resources, easy access to capital, the higher number of large customers in U.S. land drilling, improved contracts and equipment shortages."All of these factors provide me with continued confidence in the resiliency of the North American market,” he said.Delays in operations in Iraq and an operational shutdown in Libya hurt third-quarter results, though Halliburton said profit from operations outside the United States “recovered at the rate we expected” during the quarter.Three rigs did start operating in Iraq toward the end of the quarter. In Libya, where rebels have ousted ruler Muammar Gaddafi, the company is assessing whether to reopen.Halliburton has put behind it a major liability attached to former unit KBR Inc (KBR.N), which just settled a five-year dispute over failed bolts on subsea oilfield flow lines off Brazil for $200 million. The company took a $163 million related charge in the third quarter.Halliburton shares were down 7.1 percent at $34.79 on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday morning, off an earlier low at $34.52.

The BP Gulf of Mexico Blowout: What Really Happened?

On 20th April 2010 the world’s worst marine oil spill occurred, with an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil contaminating the Gulf of Mexico. It also claimed 11 lives of the 127 crew on board and exposed fatal flaws within the industry. But what caused such a devastating accident in the first place and how likely is it to happen again?

Keep reading

Decadent and depraved in the Middle East: How 9/11 transformed American thinking

Photographed by the Historic American Engineering Record


            On the eve of the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11, I sit in my home and face a window that looks out upon a neighbor’s privacy fence, and I check Facebook. This is a mistake since my feed is littered with the usual amount of “We’re Americans, kill the foreign bastards” garbage mentality that so many of my Facebook friends display.

No longer is 9/11 about a tragedy that took the lives of 2,752 people, but it has become part of a crusade toward assembling a disturbing image of an American militarized capitalistic Christian Middle East. There’s a larger message—a bigger picture—in light of the events that happened before and up to that day, and to the events that have unfolded since then. We do not want to see the bigger picture since it taints our views of the American Dream and destroys the image of the country we love so much. Truth means nothing these days. We’ve become too complacent in our lives to want to change the way we think and to make our lives and our country a better place to live. Why destroy the real enemy when we can destroy less-threatening others? The facts remain; we’re still living in the midst of a Reagan wet-dream.

We fear the things we don’t understand, and we take violence upon these things in hope to sway them toward a level of norm thinking that comforts us. This is why, on the spectrum of things distinctive to the status quo, people and ideas leaning toward the outliers have a hard time fitting in to our society. We bully the people who have differences of thinking. We murder the people who are not like “us”. Just look at the unrest in Ferguson against the white police force after the unjust murder of a black man. These murders happen every day. Every single day. It’s become the “norm” in our society, but with outliered groups trying to rectify what it means to be an “American” and to be “normal”, everyone has had their views shaken and turned upside down, even though our media outlets are trying to stop this from happening.

The news and media perpetuate things we fear in order to feed the American capitalist propaganda machines. This is no mistake. It’s happened since the Second World War. Distorting the facts on a subject not only hooks its viewers but it also feeds an altered reality that will change the way Americans live their day-to-day consumer lives. Money powers all. Natural resources like oil are keys to a thriving economy. Our government needs our media to paint a distorted picture of the dangerous and extreme “Neanderthals” in other countries and the threats they bring to the United States. How else can our government get away with invading countries to control energy resources?

In 2002, MSNBC released an article stating that the plans to go to war with the Taliban were on the President’s desk on September 9, 2001. An article, from the previous year, released by the BBC confirmed that the US wanted to go to war with the Taliban and were looking for a reason to. Then the bombings happened, and the US found its reason.


I remember being at school the day the planes hit the towers. Everyone was silent and gathered around the small televisions that were attached to the walls. We were in the library trying to learn about World War II and the effects it had on the United States. Especially from the bombing of Pearl Harbor. How apropos.

My teachers never taught me about the negative effects from the bombing of Pearl Harbor. For instance, anyone who was Japanese-American were stripped of their rights and thrown into internment camps. Because they were Japanese. That was it. Because they were the unlucky bunch to be at the mercy of the American government. They were no longer human, they were garbage. They had become the outliers in our status quo, and like the Nazis rounded up the Jews, America rounded up the Japanese.

I had one teacher in twelfth grade, she was an AP Literature teacher, who briefly went over the Japanese internment camps when we read parts of the book Farewell to Manzanar. She made the observation that, like the Japanese, our modern day equivalent social pariahs have become the Arabs and the Persians. That our media has created an image of these people, even if they are American citizens, as being evil and the scum that walks the earth.

It is necessary to understand the media’s role in the creation of an “evil” middle east as well as our government’s agenda toward securing its wealth through the primary holds on oil and its function of using the media as a sculptor to pacify and sedate the minds of American citizens. Without this “brainwashing” effect, as Tony Blair stated eloquently, “To be truthful about it, there was no way we could have got the public consent to have suddenly launched a campaign on Afghanistan but for what happened on September 11.”

We then need to go back to the 1950s, as described in an interview with Noam Chomsky, to understand where the Middle Eastern hatred for America began.

“In internal discussions in 1958, which have since been declassified, President Eisenhower spoke about a campaign of hatred against us in the Arab world. Not from the governments, but from the people. The National Security Council’s top planning body produced a memorandum - you can pick it up on the web now - in which they explained it. They said that the perception in the Arab world is that the United States blocks democracy and development and supports harsh dictators and we do it to get control over their oil. The memorandum said, this perception is more or less accurate and that’s basically what we ought to be doing.”

Chomsky also added that these reasons also prevented the “emergence of democracies in the Arab world.” The emergence of the U.S. as a stable first-world Western nation following World War II has seen a massive amount of militaristic interventions in the following countries:

Puerto Rico (1950), Korea (1951-1953), Iran (1953), Vietnam (1954), Guatemala (1954), Egypt (1956), Lebanon (1958), Iraq (1958), China (1958), Panama (1958), Vietnam (1960 1975), Laos (1961), Cuba (1961), Germany (1961), Cuba (1962), Panama (1964), Indonesia (1965), Dominican Republic (1965-1966), Guatemala (1966 1967), Cambodia (1969 -1975), Oman (1970), Laos (1971-1973), Middle East (1973), Chile (1973), Cambodia (1975), Angola (1976-1992), Iran (1980), Libya (1981), El Salvador (1981-1992), Nicaragua (1981-1990), Honduras (1982-1990), Lebanon (1982-1984), Grenada (1983-1984), Libya (1986), Bolivia (1987), Iran (1987-1988) Libya (1989), Virgin Islands (1989), Panama (1989), Liberia (1990), Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait (1990-91), Somalia (1992-1994), Bosnia (1993), Haiti (1994), Croatia (1995), Congo (1996-1997), Liberia (1997), Albania (1997), Sudan (1998), Afghanistan (1998), Iraq (1998), Yugoslavia (1999), Yemen (2000), Macedonia (2001 ), Afghanistan (2001), Iraq (2003), Liberia (2003), Syria (2008), Libya (2011), Iraq (2014).

It wasn’t until the ‘80s, when Ronald Reagan became president, did we see the middle east take center stage. Following Carter, Reagan began to produce a different ideology toward both domestic and foreign policy and evoked an image of the 1950s and its conservative “old time” value. During Reagan’s tenure, a new uprising for Christian values began, and fundamentalism became widespread, allowing for George Bush to become elected as president in 1988. In 1990, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. The United States, feeling that its oil supply was at risk, went to war with Iraq. After Bush left office and Clinton came in, more strikes against Arab countries were made in order to continue the creation of the western democratic Middle East. In 1996, cruise missile strikes hit Iraq against Saddam Hussein and his campaign against the Kurds. Operation Desert Fox, a campaign to “degrade” Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, began with four days of bombing.


The attacks were difficult to comprehend while in middle school. Even in high school were the attacks rarely discussed in detail. Not to mention that any of the recent current events, from 1990 to 2001 were seldomly spoken.  When we did talk about it, the teachers were already biased. Their country was attacked. They needed, like the media, to teach their students that Evil was out there and needed to be stopped.  I still could not wrap my head around the answers that some of my teachers told.

“What happened on 9/11 was a travesty. As you know, terrorists flew jetliners into buildings, killing many, many people.”

“Why are they terrorists?”

“Someone who doesn’t like the freedoms we have, and they want to take them away. That’s a terrorist.” When someone tried to bring up “terrorism” and how America was formed, the teacher simply replied with, “That’s a different issue.”

This is our American history—a white-washed retelling of the victories and vitcimizations of the white man, with the exception of the black rights movement in the ‘60s, which we’ve granted an entire month dedicated to the black person.

None of what the employees of the public education system could seem to answer one simple question. “But why exactly did they attack us?” Perhaps it isn’t because they don’t like our freedoms, but because we don’t like their freedoms.

After the 1996 missile attacks, Al-Qaida official waged war against the United States. Osama Bin Laden released two Fatwas, one on August 23, 1996, and one on February 23, 1998, stating claims that the United States went against the Holy Quran by continuing to occupy holy land. Bin Laden also stated the claim that “despite the great devastation inflicted on the Iraqi people by the crusader-Zionist alliance, and despite the huge number of those killed, which has exceeded 1 million… despite all this, the Americans are once against trying to repeat the horrific massacres, as though they are not content with the protracted blockade imposed after the ferocious war or the fragmentation and devastation.”

Behind the shroud of religion, there was a man crying out toward the injustices brought against his country from missile strikes during 1996-2000. But no one listened. No one empathized with the man. The United States labeled him a terrorist for wanting revenge for the onslaught against his people.

“They rip us of our wealth and of our resources and of our oil. Our religion is under attack. They kill and murder our brothers.” [PBS]

While it’s hard to get a complete estimate of deaths, different sources give different numbers, but the numbers themselves still produce an insurmountable fact that the United States, in its acquisition for global dominance, have killed thousands of innocent civilians. The Gulf War produced around 2,300 causalities. In Clinton’s presidency, roughly 10,500 innocent civilians were killed in air and missile strikes on the Middle East. [Global Policy, Mother Jones] From 2002-2014, up to 144,702 civilian causalities were killed in Iraq, and up to 21,000 causalities in Afghanistan.

The death count in Iraq becomes astoundingly higher when you incorporate the amount of deaths from Saddam Hussein’s regime. Up to 300,000 Iraqis were killed.


I haven’t met many people who have had a real problem with swallowing the truth about 9/11. They accepted the facts: terrorists seized control of planes and caused massive terror. That’s what terrorists do. There is sanctity to the event. Even after thirteen years, we need to tread lightly around the subject. People don’t question why 9/11 happened. They just accept that it did.

“I’m not saying that 9/11 is an inside job. What I am saying is that 9/11 was the perfect catalyst for throwing us into a government takeover to get its oil. Who else better than Dick Cheney and his company, Halliburton, to go into the Middle East and take it over? Question everything. Don’t think that if something happens and has a simple explanation that everyone accepts is the true explanation. However, we may never know the real explanation, since it’s hard to uncover the true motives of a government. But question it.”

This was the first time I had heard someone, no less a professor, describe to her class an “alternative” method of thinking about events that have happened. She was right. Just as George Carlin was right. “Question everything.”

For decades, the United States held onto the petrodollar, the U.S. dollar earned through oil sales, which is how all countries—until recently—paid for oil from America. Throughout the two wars, the oil companies profited, taking in increased production of oil, with at least three million barrels per day. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney continued what Bush’s father had set out to do, reform the Middle East and milk it dry of oil, and they succeeded. But with emerging backlash that our troops were in Iraq and Afghanistan for too long, plans were put in process to remove the troops.

George W. Bush warned the military, however. He said pulling out of Iraq “could unleash chaos in Iraq that could spread across the entire region.” We had meddled too much. We had meddled to the point where new “threats” would begin to grow. “Evil” would run rampant throughout the country. Our “work” would be undone. And it happened. The after-effects of an American-led Iraq resulted in turmoil.

On the eve of the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11, I sit and anxiously wait to hear the President’s national address and his plan for ISIS. The recent “emergence” of this extreme Islamic group, and its activity of beheading of Americans, has caused concern for what Iraq holds. President Obama has held off on prompting action toward ISIS. He’s saving it for tonight. President Obama has bombed the Middle East for five years now, resulting in at least 2,400 deaths. It raises the question: should President Obama continue to bomb Iraq? And even more pertinently, should President Obama invade/bomb Iraq on the grounds of removing an extreme militant social group? This will continue to affect the world and our relations to other countries negatively. Is it necessary though?


I sit, staring out at that neighbor’s god-damned privacy fence, and I think about how I have been alive for as long as the United States has bombed the Middle East. I am a product of a culture that has become placated with death, destruction, racism, and sexism. Each day I wake up and witness more crimes against humanity that needn’t not be created, I wonder what future lies ahead for us. I wonder if we can rectify the mistakes we have continually made in the past. Do we have to continue to kill people to send the message that America is number one? We have larger things to worry about in our own country: racism, sexism, abuse, rape, murder, homelessness, joblessness, internet equality, lack of education, ignorance, consumerism, and plenty of others. How can we tackle well-thought foreign policies when we can’t even take care of ourselves?

As to the subject of the Middle East and to our foreign policy toward ISIS, don’t bomb. Get all the troops out of there. Leave the Middle East alone. We’ve failed. We meddled and tried to reform Iraq. It didn’t work. Just like Vietnam didn’t work. It’s been a disaster, and too many lives have been lost to justify its necessity. The Middle East has a chance to change and grow on its own. Just like Western countries have grown and become first world countries, the Middle East has its chance to do the same—without the intervention of the United States.

The U.S. needs to focus on creating renewable energy resources if we want to continue to thrive as a first world nation. Forget about the oil. We don’t need it. Forget about the Extremists like ISIS. If we leave them alone, if we stop the killings, if we allow Arabs and Persians to live their lives the way they want to live them, without any meddling from us whatsoever, the threats to kill Americans will cease. This falls back to the 1958 studies. If we leave them alone to prosper, then we won’t have as many problems.

If we continue to bomb the Middle East, as we have now for almost twenty-five years, we will continue our vicious cycle of greed and our status quo of “white, Christian, capitalistic” gobbledygook and nothing will be accomplished. Let’s stop blowing up the world for money, and begin focusing on its beauty and finding a way to co-exist without resorting to our stereotypical “American” mentality of “let’s just blow shit up.”

The world will thank us for it.


-KNOWINGLY poison water supplies

-KNOWINGLY manufacture weapons of mass destruction

-KNOWINGLY overthrow democracies

-KNOWINGLY misinform and manipulate the masses

-KNOWINGLY continue the institutions of racism, nationalism, sexism and homophobia, as a “divide and conquer” tactic

-KNOWINGLY engineer famine and disease

-KNOWINGLY control with fear tactics

-KNOWINGLY support paramilitaries and dictatorships, to secure resources and strategic global positioning

-KNOWINGLY violate domestic laws and international treaties

-KNOWINGLY utilize slavery (wage and physical) as a means of production and control

-KNOWINGLY kill innocent people of ALL shapes, sizes, ages, demographics, dogmas and skin color, in their relentless pursuit of power


Tell me again: how are corporations NOT terrorists?

Halliburton’s missing nuclear waste found alongside Texas highway | The Raw Story

Texans can breathe easier: the radioactive waste Halliburton fracking surveyors lost last month has finally been found.

The United Arab Emirates-based oil services company told reporters this weekend that an oilfield worker found the rod of americium-241/beryllium alongside a highway near Pecos, Texas.

Halliburton reported it missing on September 11, and members of the Texas National Guard were ultimately called up to aid their search. Halliburton said it even deployed vehicles fitted with radiation detection equipment, but found nothing on three sweeps of the area.

Americium-241/beryllium is used for a variety of industrial and medical purposes, and in this case was needed for equipment used to identify potential sites for natural gas drilling. It is a “Category 3” radioactive substance, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“Category 3 sources, if not safely managed or securely protected, could cause permanent injury to a person who handled them, or were otherwise in contact with them, for some hours,” the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) explained. “It could possibly — although it is unlikely — be fatal to be close to this amount of unshielded radioactive material for a period of days to weeks.”

The Macondo Disaster: Why BP shouldn’t get all the blame

I want to begin by saying this: I am in no way trying to exempt BP from responsibility, there were many opportunities where this disaster could have been averted and if BP had not let standards slip there is a chance the rig would still be standing. However, when you mention the name ‘Macondo’ or mention the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, everybody frowns and says something derogatory about BP, they never seem to mention that Halliburton also had their part to play.<!– more –>

So who was involved in the run up to the disaster? Firstly there’s Transocean, the owner of the rig in question. While the company saw their share price drop by over half in the aftermath of the disaster I’m yet to come across an article or report that attributes any of the blame to them. They leased the rig out to BP and that is about the end of their involvement. Much like if you rented a car, you would be responsible for the maintenance and operation of that vehicle while your name was on the lease and the car in your possession.

Secondly we have BP. They were the operator of the field (in charge of all operations) and the company that had leased the rig from Transocean. As I mentioned in a previous post about the disaster (see here: http://on.fb.me/1bfxYKh) a series of poorly completed tasks and failings to adhere to proper practice by BP staff helped contribute to the disaster. It is only fair that they are proportioned some of the blame.

Thirdly we have Halliburton, an American company and the second largest Oil Service Company in the world. Why is their nationality and status important? Well I will go on to speak about sums of money that most people see as inexplicably large but to such a prominent company are more or less peanuts. Their nationality is also important but for now we shall leave it be.

Halliburton had been contracted by BP to drill and complete the well on the Macondo rig. A judge declared that the contract between the two companies indicated that all risk for the operations fell on BPs shoulders as the rig operator, and that they would be financially responsible.

The cause of the disaster was a poor cement job. Once a well has been drilled, steel casing is put into the hole and cemented into position to stop the hole caving in and to give companies more control when extracting the hydrocarbons.

Halliburton were in charge of that cement job, and it failed. BP employees then failed to test the cement job and soon after hydrocarbons started rushing into the hole, heralding disaster. The BOP (Blow-Out Preventer) was engaged and would usually have sealed the well by cutting through the casing and preventing any flow to the surface. However, due to the extreme pressures at the sea floor the well casing had buckled and the BOP was unable to cut through the metal and jammed, allowing oil to continue flowing to the surface. This buckling was an unknown phenomenon that was only highlighted after the disaster, so neither Halliburton, BP nor any other operator or service company in the gulf would have had any idea it had happened.

The scandal really broke when it emerged that both BP and Halliburton knew that the cement was flawed. They knew that there was a chance that this cement could fail, and they knew it weeks in advance. Yet Halliburton still used the cement for the job and BP still failed to test the cement before flowing the well (allowing hydrocarbons to flow from the reservoir to the surface).

When taken to court, Halliburton tried to push the blame for the accident onto BP by saying BP had ignored its advice when conducting the cement job. The service company had instructed the oil giant to use 21 stabilisers when cementing the well, as this would help the cement set properly and avoid any problems. BP ignored the advice and carried on with its planned number of 6.

To attempt to prove BPs negligence Halliburton ran a simulation to see whether the use of 6 instead of 21 stabilisers had affected the cement jobs chances of success. The model results indicated that the decision to use 6 stabilisers had made no effect on the cement job’s integrity at all. Subsequently, Halliburton destroyed the model before it could be presented in court.

Destroying evidence is obviously a criminal offence and the company was fined $200,000 (this is an insignificant amount to such a large company), was given three years of probation and promised to fully co-operate with the rest of the investigation.

In the end Halliburton was only found to be 3% responsible for the disaster and the company’s conduct was found to not constitute gross negligence. The company was forced to pay $1.1billion dollars in settlement but that was it. In comparison, Transocean had to pay $1.4 billion (despite only having leased the rig) and BP, as of September 2014, paid out over $28 billion.

To me it appears like BP has been unfairly burdened with more blame than it should have been. When the contract was brought to light claiming that BP would be responsible for any risk, I feel this was exploited and despite Halliburton’s clear involvement in the disaster the company managed to get away relatively scott free possibly due America protecting its own.

So why does it matter? Well as of September 2014, Transocean’s shares were down 56%, BP’s down by 27% while Halliburton’s had doubled. In the last year, not only has the company acquired several smaller businesses it had also bought Baker Hughes, the fifth largest oil service company in the world. My worry is that the company now controls more operations than ever before, and without having faced a heavy rebuttal for its involvement in the Macondo disaster, may still cut corners in the future. If this is the case its only a matter of time until another rig explodes, more people are killed and more environments are spoiled.

- Watson

Image Credit: Wiki Commons http://bit.ly/1bDsEAN




Further Reading:




Judge: BP's reckless conduct caused Gulf oil spill

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that BP’s reckless conduct resulted in the nation’s worst offshore oil spill, leaving the company open to billions of dollars in penalties.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier’s ruling Thursday could nearly quadruple the amount of civil penalties for polluting the Gulf of Mexico with oil from BP’s Macondo well in 2010.

Barbier presided over a trial in 2013 to apportion blame for the spill that spewed oil from April 20 to mid-July 2010. Eleven men died when the well blew wild; BP already has agreed to billions of dollars in criminal fines.

Barbier says BP bears 67 percent of the blame for the spill. He says drilling rig owner Transocean Ltd. takes 30 percent of the blame, and cement contractor Halliburton Energy Service takes 3 percent. 

h/t: Big Story at AP