Federal officials said that a criminal information charging Halliburton with one count of destruction of evidence was filed in federal court.
Halliburton has agreed to pay the maximum fine, be on probation for three years and continue to co-operate with the government’s criminal investigation, said the news release, which did not specify the fine amount. The Texas-based company has also made a voluntary 55 million dollar (£35 million) contribution to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
Halliburton was oil giant BP’s cement contractor on the drilling rig that exploded after a well blow-out, killing 11 workers and spilling millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf.
Around May 2010, the company directed a programme manager “to run two computer simulations of the Macondo well final cementing job using Halliburton’s Displace 3D simulation programme to compare the impact of using six versus 21 centralisers”, the news release said.
Halliburton recommended to BP the use of 21 centralisers in the well, but BP decided to use six instead, said the news release. The simulations indicated there was little difference between using six and 21 centralisers, but the programme manager “was directed to, and did, destroy these results”, federal officials say.
Similar evidence was destroyed in a subsequent incident in June 2010, said the Justice Department.
The news release said: “Efforts to forensically recover the original destroyed Displace 3D computer simulations during ensuing civil litigation and federal criminal investigation by the Deepwater Horizon Task Force were unsuccessful. In agreeing to plead guilty, Halliburton has accepted criminal responsibility for destroying the aforementioned evidence.”
The plea agreement and criminal charge both arise from a criminal investigation by the Deepwater Horizon Task Force. Halliburton and BP have blamed each other for the failure of the cement job to seal the Macondo well.
During a trial, BP asked a federal judge to sanction Halliburton for allegedly destroying evidence about the role that its cement slurry design could have played in the blow-out. The company announced in April it was trying to negotiate a settlement over its role in the disaster.
Walmart was charged with committing severe environmental crimes, according to court proceedings in the United States.
The San Francisco U.S. Attorney’s Office announced that Walmart admitted six counts of misdemeanor negligence of violating the Clean Water Act by illegally handling and disposing of hazardous materials at its retail stores across the United States.
The company will pay approximately $81.6 million for their illegal conduct, the office said.
“Retailers like Walmart which generate hazardous waste are required to legally and safely dispose of the hazardous waste and dumping it down the sink was not legal or safe,” Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. said.
“By mishandling of hazardous waste, pesticides and other materials in violation of federal law, Walmart put the public and the environment at risk. It also obtained an unfair economic advantage over other companies,” Ignacia S. Moreno, assistant attorney general for the U.S. Justice Environment and Natural Resources Department Division said.
The fines will go in part to fund environmental projects in communities affected by the violations and help prevent future damage to the environment, Moreno said.
LONDON—After his company agreed to plead guilty to 14 criminal charges in connection with the Deep Horizon accident and oil spill, BP chief executive Bob Dudley released an official statement Thursday expressing his “profound and heartfelt remorse” over the loss of $4.5 billion in fines. “All of us at BP deeply regret any negligence on our part that may have led to this tragic oil spill and the tremendous damage it has inflicted upon our profitability,” Dudley said of the disaster that may eventually cost his company more than $40 billion in settlements and penalties. “We never intended to upset the incredibly delicate balance of our finances, and efforts to restore the billions of dollars lost in this unspeakable catastrophe will continue until we ensure ensure just compensation for every last shareholder.” Reached for further comment, Dudley told reporters that while he feels “tremendous sorrow over losing $4.5 billion,” he’s just thankful it only amounts to 1 percent of the company’s gross revenue for 2011.