CREDIT: AP Photo/Gerald Herbert
Halliburton has agreed to pay $1.1 billion in a settlement that accounts for the majority of the lawsuits against the company for its role in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The settlement, which includes legal fees, still has to be approved by the District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. The settlement includes punitive claims of property damage and damage to the commercial fishing industry, the company said in a release.
It also includes claims that BP assigned against Halliburton in BP’s 2012 class action settlement. According to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee, which is representing spill victims, some individuals and business owners will receive payments from the settlement.
“Halliburton stepped up to the plate and agreed to provide a fair measure of compensation to people and businesses harmed in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon tragedy,” plaintiffs’ attorneys Stephen J. Herman and James P. Roy said.
But according to the Washington Post, Halliburton’s settlement will allow it to avoid much larger payments in the future.
“It’s actually a pretty decent settlement for them,” Rob Desai, an analyst at Edward Jones, said. “This eliminates an overhang.”
BP and Halliburton, the company that was responsible for the cementing of the Macondo well, sued each other in 2011, with each company blaming the other for the well blowout and oil spill. A government report found that BP, Transocean, and Halliburton all shared responsibility for the spill, but a federal judge in 2012 ruled that BP — not Halliburton — was responsible for most of the damage claims. A U.S. District court ruling on exactly how much blame BP and Halliburton carry for the spill is expected in the coming weeks.
In October 2013, former Halliburton manager Anthony Badalamenti pled guilty to destroying evidence related to the oil spill. A month after the spill began, Halliburton discovered, through a series of simulations, that one of the company’s claims against BP — that its use of fewer centralizers on the well casing than Halliburton had recommended contributed to the blowout — didn’t hold up to evidence, as the simulations showed the number of centralizers made little difference. Badalamenti instructed the program manager to destroy the simulations’ results.
This April marked the fourth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon spill, and scientists are still working to document the effect the spill has had on the Gulf ecosystem. In July, researchers from Penn State University found that coral reefs near the well site suffered greater damage than expected. And in April, the National Wildlife Federation released a report that documented the health of 14 Gulf species, including bottlenose dolphins, blue crabs, and coral, and found that many are still experiencing health effects from the spill.