Ex-Halliburton manager charged with destroying evidence on Gulf oil spill


Halliburton's former director of cementing technology is facing a criminal charge related to the destruction of evidence tied to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion.

Also, the oil-field services company pleaded guilty Thursday and agreed to pay the biggest fine under the law -- which is $200,000 -- in a settlement with the Justice Department to resolve similar charges, closing the US government's probe into Halliburton's role in the disaster.

The company also will be placed on probation for three years. Halliburton had indicated in July that it would plead guilty.

The Deepwater Horizon disaster claimed 11 lives and triggered the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

Halliburton, a contractor involved in drilling the oil well that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, destroyed computer simulations it performed in the months after the accident. Those simulations didn't bear out Halliburton's contention that BP, which owned the well, erred by not following its advice on using certain equipment, the Justice Department had said.

Former Halliburton manager Anthony Badalamenti, who is 61 years old and from Katy, Texas, faces one count of destruction of evidence. He wasn't immediately available for comment.

The charge alleges Mr. Badalamenti instructed a senior program manager to run two computer simulations of the Macondo well's final cementing job following the disaster in an effort to determine whether the number of centralizers used in the final casing could have contributed to the blowout, the Justice Department said Thursday. Mr. Badalamenti apparently instructed the senior program manager to destroy the results, which he did, the department said.

Similar evidence also was destroyed following a later incident and efforts by investigators to recover the evidence were unsuccessful, the Justice Department said.

Dow Jones Newswires

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