NEW ORLEANS — Halliburton defended itself Tuesday against accusations it destroyed evidence about the quality of cement slurry in an oil well that blew out in the Gulf of Mexico.
The cement job on the Macondo well is expected to play a big role in the court battle over who should bear the blame for the blowout that killed 11 workers and led to the nation's worst offshore oil spill. The first trial is to start Feb. 27.
A presidential commission has said Halliburton's cement slurry was a main cause of the blowout April 20, 2010. Hydrocarbons passed through the cement plug at the bottom of the well and got into the wellbore, it said.
Chevron tested Halliburton's cement mix for the commission and found it did not mix properly to be stable, the panel said.
Halliburton has argued hydrocarbons got in the well other ways. The company said its slurry was "designed to be stable."
BP accused Halliburton of doing an internal investigation and destroying early test results that found problems.
The blame game ratcheted up the showdown among BP and its contractors, Halliburton, Transocean, the drilling company, and Cameron International, the maker of the blowout preventer.