Halliburton hits BP with new oil-spill lawsuit

2nd September 2011, Comments 0 comments

US oil-services giant Halliburton said Friday that it was filing a defamation lawsuit against BP over the devastating 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

"Halliburton... filed claims against BP in Texas state court for negligent misrepresentation, business disparagement and defamation related to the April 20, 2010, Macondo incident," the Houston-based company said.

The lawsuit was a fresh blow to BP, which has suffered more than $40 billion in losses from the spill and has struggled to restore its sullied reputation amid ongoing investigations and lawsuits.

The US-traded shares of BP sank 3.7 percent in morning trading after Halliburton announced its lawsuit.

BP gave Halliburton inaccurate information about the ill-fated Macondo well before the oil-services firm performed cementing services on the well on April 19, 2010, Halliburton said in a statement.

After the disaster, BP omitted the issue of the inaccurate information from its public statements about the incident and from materials submitted to US government investigations, Halliburton alleged.

"Halliburton has learned that BP provided Halliburton inaccurate information about the actual location of hydrocarbon zones in the Macondo well.

"The actual location of the hydrocarbon zones is critical information required prior to performing cementing services and is necessary to achieve desired cement placement," Halliburton said.

The statement did not put a value on the damages Halliburton was seeking against BP.

In April, on the one-year anniversary of the blowout that caused a deadly explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, BP sued Halliburton for $40 billion, blaming the disaster on Halliburton's cementing job.

Cementing is a key process in drilling oil and gas wells, crucial to controlling well pressure and preventing dangerous blowouts.

Friday's lawsuit appeared to be part of an ongoing counter-offensive by Halliburton, the world's second-largest oil-services company.

Besides suing BP for defamation, Halliburton also said on Friday that it was adding a fraud accusation to an existing lawsuit against BP being heard in a court in New Orleans, Louisiana.

"Halliburton remains confident that all the work it performed with respect to the Macondo well was completed in accordance with BP's specifications for its well construction plan and instructions," it said.

A presidential commission concluded that a faulty cement mix in the lining of the well contributed to the disaster, which killed 11 workers aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.

Some 4.9 million barrels of oil gushed out of the runaway underwater well for three months, causing widespread environmental damage in the Gulf of Mexico, before the leak was capped in July 2010.

The presidential commission also blamed the incident on management failures by BP, Halliburton and Transocean, another contractor involved in the drilling project.

© 2011 AFP

0 Comments To This Article