The oil company BP has accused contractor Halliburton of destroying evidence relating to last year's explosion aboard an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 people, CNN reported.
At a hearing in a federal court in New Orleans on Monday, BP said Halliburton, an oilfields services provider, deliberately got rid of test results showing that it used unstable cement to secure the Macondo well that exploded.
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More than 200 million gallons of oil was released into the gulf, causing America’s worst offshore oil spill in history.
BP, which also cited "inexplicably missing" computer modeling results, is pushing for sanctions against Halliburton, arguing that its cement slurry was unstable, the BBC reported.
Documents filed to the court said:
"Halliburton destroyed the results of physical slurry testing, and it has, at best, lost the computer modeling outputs that showed no channeling. More egregious still, Halliburton intentionally destroyed the evidence related to its nonprivileged cement testing, in part because it wanted to eliminate any risk that this evidence would be used against it at trial."
Halliburton denies BP’s accusations, which it said have no merit. The firm also accused BP of defamation and fraud.
The legals battle between BP and Halliburton comes ahead of a trial on damages slated for next February.
It is expected that the trial will quantify damage from the spill, and apportion blame.