With regard to the disastrous Macondo oil well rupture that ended in 11 deaths and triggered the largest US offshore oil spill of all time (and uncountable ongoing ecological impacts), Halliburton has ‘graciously’ decided to plead guilty to destroying evidence. ‘Guilty?’ we hear you ask? When has any large US corporation not just settled in order to not be forced to admit guilt? Well, as Reuters reports, “their willingness to plead to this may also indicate that they’d like to settle up with the federal government on the civil penalties.” The maximum statutory fine for this apparent midemeanour? $200,000! Or 0.0007% of expected revenues for 2013. Well, that’ll teach ’em for sure – they won’t be destroying evidence again, eh?
Halliburton Co has agreed to plead guilty to destroying evidence related to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the U.S. Department of Justice said on Thursday.
The government said Halliburton’s guilty plea is the third by a company over the spill and requires the world’s second-largest oilfield services company to pay a maximum $200,000 statutory fine.
According to the government, Halliburton recommended to BP that the Macondo well contain 21 centralizers, metal collars that can improve cementing, but BP chose to use six.
The government said that, during an internal probe into the cementing after the blowout, Halliburton ordered workers to destroy computer simulations that showed little difference between using six and 21 centralizers.
Efforts to locate the simulations forensically were unsuccessful, the government said.
Halliburton, BP and Transocean are also defendants in a federal civil trial that began in February to apportion blame and set damages for the oil spill.
The trial is scheduled to resume in September. Halliburton said in April it was in talks to settle private claims against it in the damages trial.