BP, the company held responsible for the worst oil spill in the United States' history, has accused one of its contracting companies, Halliburton of destroying vital evidence relating to the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig on April 20, 2010, in which 11 rig workers were killed and more than 200 million gallons of crude spewed into the Gulf of Mexico.
In a dramatic turn of events in the ongoing litigious slugfest between the corporate giants, BP said in a New Orleans federal court filing that Halliburton deliberately wiped out all traces of evidence about potential flaws in the cement slurry used to encase the ill-fated Macondo well.
Though proper cementing is a critical pre-requisite to avoid blowouts of the sort experienced in the Gulf disaster, BP's allegations suggest that Halliburton fudged its response to a court order to bring forth “inexplicably missing” computer modelling results.
In its papers BP said, “Halliburton has steadfastly refused to provide these critical testing and modelling results in discovery. Halliburton's refusal has been unwavering, despite repeated BP discovery requests and a specific order from this Court.”
As per BP's statement, Halliburton was said to have destroyed the results of physical slurry testing, an “egregious” act designed to “eliminate any risk that this evidence would be used against it at trial”.
The first trial for the oil spill is set to begin on February 27 2012 and will aim to apportion liability to each company involved and there will be further legal reviews to assign punitive damages and cleanup costs. BP has already set up a $20-billion fund to finance the clean-up and reconstruction of the Gulf coastline.