BP says Halliburton ‘intentionally destroyed evidence’ after Gulf oil spill
(CNN) — BP is accusing Halliburton of having “intentionally destroyed evidence” related to the explosion aboard an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico that led to the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
The accusation comes in court papers filed by BP Monday in federal court in New Orleans as part of a lawsuit aimed at having sanctions imposed on Halliburton Energy Services Inc., which was a contractor for BP on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. An explosion on the rig on April 20, 2010, killed 11 people working on the rig and injured 16 others. The explosion led to more than 200 million gallons of oil being released into the Gulf.
BP alleges in its filing that Halliburton destroyed evidence on cement testing and violated court orders by not bringing forth “inexplicably missing” computer modeling results.
"Halliburton has steadfastly refused to provide these critical testing and modeling results in discovery. Halliburton’s refusal has been unwavering, despite repeated BP discovery requests and a specific order from this Court," the documents state.
"BP has now learned the reason for Halliburton’s intransigence — Halliburton destroyed the results of physical slurry testing, and it has, at best, lost the computer modeling outputs that showed no channeling. More egregious still, Halliburton intentionally destroyed the evidence related to its nonprivileged cement testing, in part because it wanted to eliminate any risk that this evidence would be used against it at trial," the BP papers say.
When reached for comment Monday, Halliburton spokeswoman Beverly Stafford said the company was reviewing the details of the motion.
The BP documents state that two Halliburton employees testified under oath about destroying notes and samples related to analyzing the stability of a similar cement mixture that was used in the failed oil well.
"[D]id you take down any notes about the slurry?" Halliburton Global Advisor in Gulf Cementing Rickey Morgan was asked during a deposition detailed in the court motion.
"No, ma’am," Morgan responded.
"You didn’t take any pictures?"
"And then you said you dumped out the sample?"
"And you mentioned that the reason that you didn’t document the test and you threw out the sample was because you were worried about it being misinterpreted in the litigation?"
"Yes, that’s part of the reason, yes, ma’am," Morgan testified, according to the BP papers.
BP is seeking to have a “third-party specialist” examine a Halliburton computer, saying “such an examination might well recover the missing modeling results, or shed light on the circumstances of their apparent disappearance.”
BP and its two contractors — Halliburton and Transocean, which owned the Deepwater Horizon rig where the explosion occurred — have been locked in legal battles since last year.
In September, the final federal report on the spill said BP, Transocean and Halliburton all share responsibility for the deadly explosion and ensuing oil spill.