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Halliburton Pushes Back Against Cement Testing Letter, Blames BP

Halliburton, in a statement released late last night, downplayed the significance of cement testing results released publicly yesterday by the national oil spill commission and attempted to shift responsibility for the massive Gulf oil spill to BP.

The statement makes a detailed case for why Halliburton should not be considered the responsible party for the oil spill. As it stands now, that title — and the billions of dollars in damages that go along with it — goes to BP. Halliburton is trying desperately to avoid being saddled with the damages from the spill.

Of the four tests discussed in an Oct. 28 letter from oil spill commission staff to the commissioners, three suggested that the nitrogen foam cement mixture used in the well could be “unstable.” But Halliburton, in the statement, said the first two tests referenced in the letter focused on mixtures that were in fact not similar to the one used in the Macondo well, as commission staff suggested. The third test indicating that the mixture was unstable was not conducted properly and should be disregarded, Halliburton said.

Contrary to the letter, however, the slurry tested in February was not “a very similar foam slurry design to the one actually pumped at the Macondo well.” … Additionally, there are a number of significant differences in testing parameters, including depth, pressure, temperature and additive changes, between Halliburton’s February tests and two subsequent tests Halliburton conducted in April. Halliburton believes the first test conducted in April is irrelevant because the laboratory did not use the correct amount of cement blend.

Halliburton also said it shared with BP the results of the tests, and as a result, BP instructed the company to make technical changes to the cement mixture.

Halliburton attempted to shift blame for the spill to BP, arguing that the oil company did not take adequate precautions to protect the integrity of the well.

Halliburton believes that had BP conducted a cement bond log test, or had BP and others properly interpreted a negative-pressure test, these tests would have revealed any problems with Halliburton’s cement. A cement bond log test is the only means available to evaluate the integrity of the cement bond. BP, as the well owner and operator, decided not to run a cement bond log test even though the appropriate personnel and equipment were on the rig and available to run that test. BP personnel have publicly testified they intended to conduct the cement bond log test at a later date and to perform any necessary remedial work at that time.

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