The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] announced Thursday that Halliburton Energy Services [corporate website; JURIST news archive] has agreed to plead guilty to destroying evidence [press release] in connection with the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill [JURIST news archive] in the Gulf of Mexico. Halliburton stands accused of destroying the results of an internal investigation into the well's construction to determine what caused the accident. As part of the plea agreement, Halliburton has agreed to admit its criminal conduct, pay a fine and be subject to three years of probation. Halliburton has also agreed to cooperate with the government's ongoing criminal investigation.
In January a judge for the US District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana accepted a plea agreement [JURIST report] between BP [corporate website] and the DOJ for the company's criminal liability in the spill. Earlier in January Transocean Ltd. [corporate website] pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to "negligently discharging oil into the Gulf of Mexico," in violation of the Clean Water Act (CWA) [EPA summary] and agreed to pay $1 billion in civil penalties and $400 million in criminal penalties for its role in the Deepwater Horizon spill. A federal judge ordered [JURIST report] BP to share partial liability with Transocean in oil spill claims in January 2012. In November of last year BP executives pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to criminal charges stemming from the oil spill. Earlier that month BP agreed to pay $4.5 billion in penalties [JURIST report] for felony misconduct for its role in the spill.