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Halliburton Cement Used in BP Well Failed Three Tests, Panel Leader Says

Posted Oct 29, 2010 8:32 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A presidential commission investigating the Gulf oil spill has found that Halliburton provided a concrete mixture to seal the BP oil well that had failed three out of four laboratory tests.

Lead investigator Fred Bartlit Jr. said the mixture was used despite the multiple failures, according to the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Am Law Daily. He was able to find evidence that only one of the test results—showing a test failure—was forwarded to BP before the concrete was poured.

Bartlit is a name partner at Bartlit, Beck, Herman, Palenchar & Scott in Chicago. His law firm has previously represented Halliburton, but has not done any work for the company since 2005, the Times says.

His letter (PDF) said Halliburton conducted its first two tests in February on a slightly different mixture than the one used at the well, and both tests indicated the mixture was unstable. The results of one of those tests were forwarded to BP.

Two more tests were conducted in April in the week before the explosion. The later one used a modified testing procedure and found the cement to be stable, the letter said. Bartlit found no evidence that the early April test results were communicated to BP, and said it is unclear whether the second positive test was completed before the cement was poured into the well.

Bartlit's letter indicated that the cement was likely one of many factors contributing to the disaster. Halliburton later issued a statement calling the February tests preliminary and asserting that it informed BP about the later tests.

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