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Halliburton sues BP, alleging coverup over gulf well blowout

NEW ORLEANS — BP PLC has engaged in a "coverup scheme" to hide its culpability for the deadly rig explosion that spawned last year's massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, one of the oil giant's partners in the drilling project claims in a newly filed lawsuit.

Halliburton Energy Services Inc.'s suit, the latest of several that the project's partners have filed against each other, accuses BP of concealing critical information about the deepwater well that blew out on April 20, 2010.

Halliburton, which did cement work on BP's Macondo well, claims in last week's suit that BP provided false information about the location of pockets of oil and gas around the well before the blowout. Halliburton says knowing the location of those zones is critical for a cementing job.

"Profit and greed" were BP's motives for concealing the information, the lawsuit alleges. Halliburton says it likely would have insisted on redesigning the well's production casing if it had known about an additional hydrocarbon zone that it alleges BP failed to disclose.

"Such changes would have cost BP millions of dollars on a well that was already painfully over budget and behind schedule," says the suit, filed in a Harris County, Texas, state court.

In response to the suit, which seeks unspecified monetary damages, BP spokesman Scott Dean accused Halliburton of trying to deflect blame and divert attention from its role in the disaster. Dean said "multiple independent investigations" have identified "serious problems" with the cementing of the well.

"BP has accepted its responsibility for responding to the spill and is accordingly paying costs and compensation," Dean said in a statement. "In contrast, Halliburton has refused to accept any responsibility or accountability. As BP has said repeatedly, it expects other parties to accept their responsibilities and bear their share of the costs."

Halliburton's suit accuses BP of intentionally omitting information about the location of hydrocarbon zones from its own report on the causes of the blowout. Halliburton also claims BP withheld the same information from government investigators.

In addition to suing BP in the Texas state court, Halliburton also said Friday that it is amending existing claims against BP in federal court to include fraud allegations.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans is presiding over tens of thousands of claims resulting from the oil spill, including the suits that companies filed against each other.

Halliburton sues BP, alleging coverup over gulf well blowout 09/04/11 [Last modified: Sunday, September 4, 2011 5:31am]

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