Halliburton's Anthony Badalamenti Admits To Destroying BP Oil Spill Evidence

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A former Halliburton manager pleaded guilty Tuesday to destroying evidence from the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010.

Anthony Badalamenti, the cementing technology director for Halliburton Energy Services Inc., admits he instructed two Halliburton employees to delete the results of a 3D simulation created after the well exploded.

Halliburton was contracted to cement the well and recommended 21 centralizers, metal but BP chose to use just six. Halliburton originally used this fact to affix blame on BP, but their own simulations of the blown-out well kept showing that there was little difference between using six or 20.

On Apr. 20, 2010, the well exploded, killing 11 oilrig workers. The largest offshore spill on record, the disaster gushed oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days, spilling an estimated total of 4.9 million barrels.

Charged with one misdemeanor count, Badalamenti could face up to a year in prison and $100,000 in fines. His sentencing is set for Jan. 21, 2013.

Halliburton itself has agreed to pay a $200,000 fine and undergo three years probation over the incident.

Badalamenti is the first person charged in connection with the BP oil spill to plead guilty.

BP well site leaders Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine have been brought up on manslaughter charges stemming from the deaths of 11 Deepwater Horizon workers. Prosecutors say they botched safety tests and ignored the high-pressure building up in the well before the blowout occurred. They are set to stand trial next year.

Former BP executive David Rainey is charged with concealing information from Congress about just how much oil was spilling from the well in 2010, and former BP engineer Kurt Mix is charged with deleting voicemails and texts about BP’s spill response.

Sources: ThinkProgress, TIME