Halliburton admits it destroyed evidence related to the construction of the notorious Macondo well that ruptured in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico and caused the biggest oil spill in US history, reports Reuters. Eleven rig workers were killed. The company will plead guilty to the charge and pay the maximum fine of $200,000, the Justice Department announced. Halliburton also made a voluntary $55 million payment to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
Halliburton destroyed the evidence during an internal investigation into what went wrong and who was to blame. BP owned the well, but Halliburton oversaw the pouring of cement during its drilling, explains the Times-Picayune of New Orleans. Halliburton recommended that BP use 21 "centralizers," or metal collars, on the well, but BP used only six. When Halliburton ran simulated tests during its spill investigation, the results showed that it made little difference whether BP used six or 21. That didn't please Halliburton execs, so they ordered the results destroyed, say the feds. They did the same with results from a second simulation that reached the same conclusion. (Read the full Justice Department explanation via Boing Boing.)