WASHINGTON -- Oil-field services giant Halliburton has agreed to plead guilty to destroying evidence in connection with the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the Justice Department announced Thursday.
Halliburton has been charged with one count of destruction of evidence in U.S. District Court in New Orleans.
Under a plea agreement that is subject to court approval, Halliburton agreed “to pay the maximum-available statutory fine, to be subject to three years of probation and to continue its cooperation in the government’s ongoing criminal investigation,” the Justice Department said.
The April 2010 explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig was the largest offshore oil disaster in U.S. history, killing 11 workers and spewing nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the gulf. The Macondo well was owned by a consortium of energy companies, led by BP. Transocean owned the drilling rig that BP was leasing for the venture. Halliburton was contracted by BP to do the cement work on the well.
The plea agreement was the third that the Justice Department has obtained in the criminal investigation of the disaster. Transocean agreed to pay $400 million as part of its criminal plea, and BP, $4 billion. A civil suit against the three companies brought by the Justice Department and others is continuing.