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Halliburton manager sentenced to one year probation for destroying evidence

Halliburton's Tim Probert, president of global business lines and chief health, safety and environmental officer (far right) is sworn in at a Senate Energy Comm. hearing with BP's pres & chair Lamar McKay and Steven Newman of Transocean in May of 2010
Halliburton's Tim Probert, president of global business lines and chief health, safety and environmental officer (far right) is sworn in at a Senate Energy Comm. hearing with BP's pres & chair Lamar McKay and Steven Newman of Transocean in May of 2010
Mark Wilson, Getty Images, May 11, 2010

While it's popular in New Orleans to point the finger (and not a polite one) at BP for the massive 2010 oil spill and its effects on residents, wildlife and marine life in the Gulf, other parties are also to blame. Today was proof of that as cement contractors Halliburton were also penalized.

Halliburton Energy Services' technology director, Anthony Badalamenti, was sentenced to one year of probation and slapped with a $1,000 fine for destroying crucial evidence after the BP oil spill. Badalementi will also perform 100 hours of community service.

Halliburton had recommended to BP prior to the fateful blowout that the British company use 21 centralizers on the Macondo well. BP, however, opted for just six, a fact Halliburton was found to have hidden from investigators through destroying documents.

Bow-spring centralizers are used to keep casing in the center of a wellbore or casing ("centralized") before and during a cement job, according to an oilfield glossary.

In a New Orleans federal courthouse, Judge Jay Zainey sentenced Badalamenti to the probation, a far less stringent penalty than what he might have gotten. He had faced as much as a few years' probation and several thousand dollars in fines for culpability in destroying proof of too few centralizers used.

Last July, Halliburton agreed to plead guilty to the US Department of Justice for destroying this crucial evidence.

Apparently, Badalamenti had instructed two workers to destroy computer evidence indicting the cement contractors following a post-spill review. It's unclear, though, as to whether BP had put the pressure on Halliburton to do this.