Halliburton Questions Cement Tests Related to Deepwater Spill

(Dow Jones Newswires), Oct. 29, 2010

Halliburton questioned the cement tests by a task force looking into the Deepwater Horizon disaster, saying differences between those results and the company's "may be due to differences in the cement materials tested."

The response came late Thursday night, after federal investigators said Halliburton found repeated problems with the cement it was planning to install in BP's doomed oil well in the Gulf of Mexico but used it anyway--perhaps without alerting BP.

The cement was supposed to seal the well and prevent explosive natural gas from flowing in. Why the seal failed has been a central question in the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which killed 11 workers and set off the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

The investigators' findings brought new scrutiny to Halliburton, which until now has escaped most of the blame for the disaster. Halliburton's stock slid 8% Thursday and dropped another 2.2% premarket to $30.99.

The company said in its statement that the federal commission tested off-the-shelf cement and additives, whereas Halliburton tested the unique blend of cement and additives that existed on the rig at the time its tests were conducted. It added it has been unable to provide the commission with cement, additives and water from the rig because it is subject to a federal court preservation order, although the materials will soon be released to the Marine Board of Investigation.

Halliburton said it believes further comment on the tests is "premature and should await careful study" of tests by the company and other industry experts.

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