Halliburton Manager Sentenced For Destroying Oil Spill Evidence

Former Halliburton manager Anthony Badalamenti faces sentencing Tuesday for his role in destroying evidence related to the 2010 Gulf oil spill. In October the former Halliburton director plead guilty to the misdemeanor charge. US District Judge Jay Zainey announced Badalamenti’s fate today. The former Halliburton director will be under probation for one year. He will also have to pay a $1,000 fine and perform 100 hours of community service. Badalamenti faced a possible sentence of one year in prison and a hefty $100,000 fine.

Halliburton itself faced charges from the US Justice Department over Badalamenti’s actions. Facing a misdemeanor charge, Halliburton decided to plead guilty in September. As part of the deal, prosecutors slapped Halliburton with a $200,000 fine. Though it was not a requirement, Halliburton also donated $55 million to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

As most will recall, in April 2010 a Deepwater Horizon well ruptured, leading to oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico to create one of the most devastating ecological accidents ever. The drilling rig’s explosion also killed 11 workers. While the platform was owned and operated by BP, Halliburton Energy Service Inc. was contracted to build the drill’s cement-sealed Macondo well.

What was Halliburton and former manager Anthony Badalamenti accused of, exactly? Following the accident on Deepwater Horizon, then-cementing technology director for Halliburton, Anthony Badalamenti, allegedly ordered two Halliburton employees to erase data. The data included computer simulations run on the well’s centralizers. The information may have shown why Halliburton decided to use six centralizers rather than 21 on the well. Neither of the Halliburton employees have faced charges over the destruction of possible evidence. Halliburton has told the Justice Department that the data is not recoverable, having been permanently deleted.

Halliburton and Badalamenti are not the only parties confronted with federal prosecution in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon incident. BP has seen four current or former employees face accusation of criminal actions related to the spill. Former BP drilling engineer Kurt Mix was convicted in December for attempting to destroy evidence. Mix could be sentenced for up to 20 years in prison.

Despite Halliburton’s trouble with the Justice Department, they recently announced a 19 percent growth in quarterly earnings. Expansion in areas of the globe outside of the Americas and cost cutting measures are to credit, they say. Halliburton Chairman and CEO Dave Lesar boasts setting annual revenue records in 2013. Halliburton is doing well despite setbacks in North and Latin Americas in recent years, which they blame on falling natural gas prices.

[Image via Wikimedia Commons / US Coast Guard]