IN PICTURES: Sticky mess: The Gulf oil spill's impact on nature
In court papers filed Monday, BP alleges that Halliburton, an oil field services corporation once run by former Vice President Dick Cheney, destroyed data from tests on a cement slurry that the firm uses in drilling operations. Several investigations have identified a similar slurry as a root cause of the Deepwater Horizon accident. BP also wants the court to order a third-party inspection of a key Halliburton computer to determine if any of the test data can be recovered.
As the rig's crew worked in April 2010 to wrap up operations at the Macondo well, a series of managerial mistakes and safety equipment failures compounded the failed plug and exacerbated the accident and ensuing spill, congressional investigators have found.
Monday's court filing by BP charges that two Halliburton employees said, under oath, that they destroyed notes and samples that gave insight into the stability of a cement slurry similar to the one that was used in the Macondo wellhead. One reason for discarding the data, one Halliburton employee testified, was concern that the data would be misinterpreted during a legal proceeding, according to the BP documents.
"Halliburton intentionally destroyed the evidence related to its nonprivileged cement testing, in part because it wanted to eliminate any risk that this evidence would be used against it at trial," the BP filing says.