US & Canada

BP Deepwater oil spill: Ex-Halliburton manager sentenced

The Deepwater Horizon burns Image copyright AFP
Image caption Eleven men were killed aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig when it exploded on 20 April 2010

A former manager at US energy services giant Halliburton who admitted destroying evidence in an inquiry into the largest oil spill in US history has been sentenced to a year's probation.

Anthony Badalamenti, 62, pleaded guilty in a US district court in October.

He admitted to deleting records of computer simulations relating to the April 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The disaster was caused by an explosion at BP's Deepwater Horizon rig, which killed 11 people.

Community service

Badalamenti was the cementing technology director for Halliburton, which had been hired to provide cementing services to BP on the Macondo oil well, 18,360ft (5,596m) under the surface.

Soon after the explosion, US government agencies began investigating the incident, and Halliburton was obligated to preserve documents relating to the well.

In May, while oil was still seeping uncontrolled from the well into the Gulf of Mexico, Badalamenti instructed a subordinate to run computer simulations of the cementing job on the Macondo well.

Badalamenti reviewed the results of the simulations, then ordered his subordinate to delete records of the simulations, according to court records filed in the October plea agreement.

His subordinate "felt uncomfortable" deleting the computer files, but still complied.

Another Halliburton employee also deleted data after receiving instructions from Badalamenti, prosecutors said.

In addition to a year of probation, Badalamenti was also sentenced to 100 hours of community service and ordered to pay a $1,000 (£607) fine.

Separately, Halliburton has pleaded guilty to the unauthorised deletion of data.

The contractor is the third of three major companies at the heart of the huge oil spill to admit criminal wrongdoing.

BP and rig operator Transocean have already pleaded guilty to charges related to the disaster.

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