By ANGEL GONZALEZ
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 used to plug the deep-water well that blew out in April 2010, killing 11 people and unleashing a huge oil spill.
In a motion filed with a US 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. The UK oil company says it bases its motion on deposition testimony by Halliburton witnesses and internal documents.
Halliburton said it is still reviewing the details of the motion but that it believes "the conclusion that BP is asking the court to draw is without merit." Halliburton also said, "We look forward to contesting their motion in court."
BP's salvo is the latest in a multipronged legal fight pitting one of the world's largest oil companies against its contractors over their share of responsibility for the US Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
BP has said its contractors, including Halliburton, share part of the blame; Halliburton has said that BP directed all operations and is at fault. In September, Halliburton sued BP for defamation and for providing inaccurate information before the cementing job in the Deepwater Horizon well.
According to BP's filing, Halliburton told its employees in late April or early May 2010 to test a batch of the cement at a facility in Duncan, Okla.
The testing showed that the solids in the cement mixture were separating from the liquids, a sign of instability, according to BP.
BP says that a Halliburton employee said under oath that "he destroyed test results in order to keep the information from being 'misinterpreted' in ways adverse to Halliburton in litigation."
Dow Jones Newswires