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Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) is one of the world’s largest providers of services and equipment to oilfields across the globe. Houston-based Halliburton is coming under scrutiny for its possible role in the recent Transocean Deepwater Horizon explosion, fire, and subsequent Gulf Coast oil spill. Investigators are focused on Halliburton’s role with both British Petroleum (BP) and Transocean, namely any possible failure related to the ” cementing” process.

The ” cementing” of the deepwater drill hole is a process that is supposed to prevent oil from escaping by filling gaps between the well pipe and the ocean floor.

” Cementing” failures have been associated with rig blowouts in the past. In a report from Gold and Casselman, the Minerals Management Service (MMS) says, ” cementing was a factor in 18 of 39 well blowouts in the Gulf of Mexico over a 14-year period….the single largest factor – ahead of equipment failure and pipe failure.”

According to Transocean Ltd., the operator of the drilling rig, Halliburton had finished cementing the 18,000-foot well shortly before the explosion. The quality of Halliburton’s service and the extent to which the company adhered to safety and regulations will certainly come under intense scrutiny.

” The timing of the cementing in relation to the blast” ”and the procedure’s history of causing problems” ”point to it as a possible culprit in the Deepwater Horizon disaster, experts said” in an article in the Wall Street Journal. Halliburton has been accused of performing a poor cement job in the case of a major blowout in the Timor Sea off Australia last August. An investigation is underway.

For its part, Halliburton has released very little information about their role on Transocean’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig, issuing only the following brief statement:

  • ” Halliburton performed a variety of services on the rig, including cementing, and had four employees stationed on the rig at the time of the accident. Halliburton’s employees returned to shore safely, due, in part, to the brave rescue efforts by the U.S. Coast Guard and other organizations;
  • Halliburton had completed the cementing of the final production casing string in accordance with the well design approximately 20 hours prior to the incident. The cement slurry design was consistent with that utilized in other similar applications;
  • In accordance with accepted industry practice approved by our customers, tests demonstrating the integrity of the production casing string were completed;
  • At the time of the incident, well operations had not yet reached the point requiring the placement of the final cement plug which would enable the planned temporary abandonment of the well, consistent with normal oilfield practice;
  • We are assisting with planning and engineering support for a wide range of options designed to secure the well, including a potential relief well.”

Officials from BP, who were on the rig, in addition to Transocean employees, would have had to approve the cementing plans offered by Halliburton. It will take time to untangle the web of responsibilities of all the corporations involved, but ultimately the Transocean Deepwater Horizon blowout has magnified to disastrous proportions leaving thousands injured and damaged in the wake.

If you suffer a financial loss or other injury due to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the maritime law attorneys at Arnold & Itkin LLP can help. Contact Arnold & Itkin LLP or call our maritime law office toll free at 888-498-8212. We will discuss your concerns and provide a candid evaluation of your claim, all as part of a free consultation.

Involved Parties
BP (British Petroleum)
Cameron International Group
Minerals Management Services (MMS)
Shuman Consulting
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