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Halliburton, BP Knew Risks Before Spill

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By Jason Beahm on October 29, 2010 12:12 PM

Good old Halliburton. Haven't heard from them for a while. Back in the days of George W. Bush, they were practically a household name. As in, "Hey honey, did you hear that the Army gave Halliburton a secret $7 billion no-bid contract to restore Iraq's oil fields just days prior to Bush ordering the invasion of Iraq?"

After fading a bit from the public consciousness, their name has been popping up regarding the Deepwater Horizon explosion and BP oil spill. According to an investigation, BP and Halliburton should have doubted the reliability of the cement used to seal the well. However, they used it anyway, according to the President's oil spill commission. This conflicts with statements made by Halliburton, which said that tests demonstrated that the cement mix was reliable. Halliburton is now pointing the finger at BP, contending that the design of the well was faulty and that BP did not operate it correctly.

According to The Associated Press, BP and Halliburton chose to use a "foam slurry," which is created by injecting nitrogen into cement to secure the bottom of the well. Outside experts have criticized that decision. According to the President's commission, four tests were run between February and April by Halliburton and only one showed that the mix would hold. However, those results may not have circulated through BP and Halliburton until the cement was already pumped.

"Halliburton (and perhaps BP) should have considered redesigning the foam slurry before pumping it at the Macondo well," chief investigative counsel Fred H. Bartlit Jr. wrote. Further, independent tests conducted by Chevron on a nearly identical mixture concluded that the cement mix was unstable.

A spokeswoman for Halliburton said the company was reviewing the findings and would have a response later, The Associated Press reports. BP said it would not have a comment on the panel's conclusions Thursday.

It will be interesting to follow whether these latest developments will have an impact on the lawsuits filed against BP. Will Halliburton be forced to chip in for the damages? Stay tuned to find out.

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