Is Halliburton to blame for Gulf disaster?

Oil Spill bird

Congressional and legal inquiries are looking into whether Halliburton caused the Gulf oil spill. Image from Flickr.

As the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico continues to spread, allegations are coming to light that this may be the Halliburton oil spill. BP has claimed responsibility for paying for the oil spill cleanup, and Transocean was operating the oil drilling platform – but both may now be looking to Halliburton for oil spill answers.

How Halliburton was involved with the oil spill

At the time Deepwater Horizon, owned by Transocean and being leased to BP, exploded and began the oil spill, Halliburton was working as a contractor. Halliburton had been hired by Transocean to cement the oil well. Cementing an oil well is a process where a specialty cement is pumped into an oil well to plug it and prevent an oil spill and combustible gas from leaking. If the cement is cracked, improperly pumped, or improperly mixed, natural gas and oil can push through the cement. Halliburton had just finished cementing the well when Deepwater Horizon exploded. Halliburton will need more than payday loans to prove it wasn’t the company’s fault.

Halliburton oil spill concerns

Halliburton oil spill concerns are centered on this oil-rig-cementing process. Halliburton is the largest oil well cementing business in the world, and the process accounts for 11 percent – or $ 1.7 billion – of the company’s business. When the cementing process goes wrong, a Halliburton oil spill is usually the result. A 2007 study found that “cementing was a factor in 18 of 39 well blowouts in the Gulf of Mexico over a 14-year period.” In other words, Halliburton cementing issues are more common than equipment failure and pipe failure when it comes to the cause of Gulf of Mexico oil spills. Halliburton oil spills have also happened in Australia and other countries.

Halliburton oil spill lawsuits

There are multiple lawsuits based on the possibility of the Halliburton oil spill. Natalie Roshto, wife to one of the Transocean employees who was killed, has filed a lawsuit against Halliburton. This lawsuit claims that the explosion and ensuing oil spill were the fault of Halliburton. The lawsuit specifically states that “prior to the explosion, (Halliburton) was engaged in cementing operations of the well and well cap and, upon information and belief, improperly and negligently performed these duties, which was a cause of the explosion.”

Halliburton does not claim oil spill responsibility

Though BP has agreed to pay for part of the cleanup of the oil spill, and Transocean is taking responsibility for a portion of the oil spill, Halliburton has not claimed any responsibility. Halliburton has only confirmed that the corporation had just completed cementing about 20 hours before the explosion.

Sources:

Financial Times
The Atlantic
Wall Street Journal
CBS News

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