Halliburton Energy Services has agreed to plead guilty to destroying evidence related to the Deepwater Horizon disaster that occurred in 2010, as part of an agreement signed with the US Department of Justice (US DoJ).
Admitting its criminal conduct, the US energy contractor further agreed to pay the maximum statutory fine of $200,000 and to accept a term of three years probation.
The agreement, which is subject to court approval, is part of the ongoing criminal investigation by the Deepwater Horizon Task Force.
The department, in a statement, noted: “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 addition, the department also agreed not to carry out further criminal prosecution of Halliburton or its subsidiaries for any conduct relating to or arising out of the Macondo well incident.
The Deepwater Horizon rig blowout, claimed to be the largest oil spill in the US history, occurred on 20 April 2010 at the Macondo well site in the Gulf of Mexico and killed 11 rig workers.
Halliburton is the third company to plead guilty in the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The British oil and gas giant BP and rig operator Transocean have already admitted of being guilty for the disaster.
Furthermore, Halliburton has voluntarily contributed $55m to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation that was not part of the court’s acceptance of its plea agreement.