Halliburton, Justice Dept. Agree On Plea Deal For BP Horizon Criminal Charge

Halliburton Energy Services has been arraigned on a charge that the Houston-based company destroyed evidence, following BP's 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Halliburton was BP’s cement contractor on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.

Lawyers for the company Wednesday entered a plea of not guilty to one count of destruction of evidence in federal court in New Orleans. But they say the Halliburton has agreed to plead guilty at a date to be determined, as part of a plea deal with the Justice Department.

Melissa Hamilton is a visiting criminal law professor at the University of Houston Law Center.

“A company obviously can’t go to jail, but they do want to get some kind of recourse, and so what they’re really seeking here is a fine. But they can also put the company on some kind of probation. If a company violates probation, it’s again, another way, for them to try and control the company in terms of preventing wrongdoing and then potentially getting more damages in the future.”

Under the deal, Halliburton will pay the statutory maximum fine of $200,000 and will be on probation for three years. The company must also cooperate with the government’s criminal investigation into the Deepwater Horizon blowout. 

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Andrew Schneider

Business Reporter

Andrew Schneider joined KUHF in January 2011, after more than a decade as a print reporter for The Kiplinger Letter...