Ex-Halliburton manager charged in Gulf spill probe3By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN
The Associated Press | September 20,2013AP File Photo
The Deepwater Horizon oil rig burns after a deadly explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.NEW ORLEANS — A former Halliburton employee was charged Thursday with destroying evidence following BP’s 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Anthony Badalamenti, who had been the cementing technology director for Halliburton Energy Services Inc., was charged in federal court Thursday with instructing two other employees to delete data during a post-spill review of the cement job on BP’s blown-out well.
Halliburton was BP PLC’s cement contractor on the drilling rig that exploded in the Gulf in April 2010, killing 11 workers and triggering the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history.
The 61-year-old Badalamenti of Katy, Texas, is charged in a bill of information, which typically signals that a defendant is cooperating with prosecutors.
Also on Thursday, a federal judge accepted a plea agreement that calls for the Houston-based company to pay a $200,000 fine for conduct related to the charge against Badalamenti.
U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo said she believes the plea agreement is reasonable and agreed with prosecutors and the company that it “adequately reflects the seriousness of the offense.”
Unlike BP and rig owner Transocean Ltd., Halliburton was not charged with a crime related to the causes of the disaster. The charge to which it agreed to plead guilty — a misdemeanor count of unauthorized destruction of evidence — involved a post-spill review of the cement job on BP’s blown-out Macondo well.
The fine Halliburton agreed to pay is the statutory maximum for the charge. The deal announced in July also calls for Halliburton to be on probation for three years and to make a $55 million contribution to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, but that payment was not a condition of the deal.
BP resolved a Justice Department criminal probe of its role in the Deepwater Horizon disaster when it pleaded guilty in January to manslaughter charges for the deaths of the rig workers and agreed to pay a record $4 billion in penalties. Transocean pleaded guilty in February to a misdemeanor charge of violating the Clean Water Act and agreed to pay $400 million in criminal penalties.
Prosecutors said that in May 2010, Badalamenti directed a senior program manager to run computer simulations on centralizers, which are used to keep the casing centered in the wellbore. The results indicated there was little difference between using six or 21 centralizers. The data could have supported BP’s decision to use the lower number.
Badalamenti is accused of instructing the program manager to delete the results. The program manager “felt uncomfortable” about the instruction but complied, according to prosecutors.
A different Halliburton employee also deleted data from a separate round of simulations at the direction of Badalamenti, who was acting without the authorization of the company, prosecutors said.
Halliburton notified investigators from a Justice Department task force about the deletion of data.MORE IN National / World BusinessLOS ANGELES — It’s back, and it’s back on a scale that is well matched to this car-centric city. Full StoryThe stock market closed out its fifth straight week of gains with another record high on Friday. Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1927, striking Colo. miners attacked with machine guns by state police; 1877, Thomas Edison announces invention of the phonograph, 1959, Alan Freed fired by WABC 770 AM for accepting payola to promote records.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivers short speech in Gettysburg, Pa.; in 1984, a Pemex LNG facility destroyed by series of gas explosions, 600 people are killed; in 1998, Senate builds fire under Bill Clinton.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1831 – Independent South American super-state, Gran Colombia, dissolved; 1856 - Fort Buchanan built to control Apache warriors; 1970 - William Calley Jr. goes on trial after 1968 massacre at My Lai, Vietnam.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: Wisconsin Sen. Joe McCarthy takes advantage of Cold War jitters and builds a tidy little fiefdom for himself on Capitol Hill. It's all good, but pride goes before you know darn well what. The junior senator is damaged going down.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1927, Leon Trotsky is expelled from the Soviet Communist Party, leaving Joseph Stalin in control of the Soviet Union; in 1970, Oregon DOT tries to dynamite a dead whale off a beach with a rather shocking result.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: In 1972, Southern Airways Flight 49 is hijacked, the crew and passengers held for ransom. The hijackers want $10 million and passage to Cuba. In 2007, in Santiago, Chile, King Juan Carlos of Spain loses patience with Hugo Chavez.