Halliburton Lab Manager's Guilty Plea

Bruce Thompson
The Associated Press has just reported that in the BP oil spill case...

Anthony Badalamenti, 62, of Katy, Texas, faces a maximum sentence of 1 year in prison and a $100,000 fine after his guilty plea in U.S. District Court to one misdemeanor count of destruction of evidence. His sentencing by U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey is set for Jan. 21.

This is important to the overall case because of both the timing and the nature of what evidence was destroyed.

In May 2010, according to prosecutors, Badalamenti directed a senior program manager to run computer simulations on centralizers, which are used to keep the casing centered in the wellbore. The results indicated there was little difference between using six or 21 centralizers.

The data could have supported BP's decision to use the lower number, but Justice Department prosecutor William Pericak said the number of centralizers had "little effect" on the outcome of the simulations.

Badalamenti instructed the program manager to delete the results. The program manager "felt uncomfortable" about the instruction but complied, according to prosecutors.

In May 2010, BP was in the midst of its initial source control effort. The Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20 and sank on April 22. BP began to assemble a team of well control experts, suppliers, peers and government overseers. During May the Democratic-controlled Congress held multiple hearings. A meme soon emerged, most publicly expounded by Ed Markey (D-MA) in Congress and on CNN nightly with Anderson Cooper,that BP had used too few centralizers based on a proprietary Halliburton Opti-Cem computer simulation and therefore they were grossly negligent. Gross negligence would up the size of fines under the Clean Water Act from $1,100 to $4,300 per barrel spilled. The substance of the plea agreement accepts that Markey's bombastic charges were not factually true. The number of centralizers BP used was not a cause of the accident.

A corollary is that BP and its well-control contractors were chasing a red herring, annular flow. Subsequent forensic inspection of the well, combined with the data from the successful static kill, including a positive pressure test, prove that the flow was up inside the production casing in a well with positive pressure integrity up to at least 10,000 psi. Given this knowledge, BP could have killed the well with the Top Kill by simply increasing the "bullheading" pressure enough to force mud down the well bore until the well was under enough hydrostatic pressure to kill the well (this is what finally occurred during the static kill on August 3rd). Markey and Halliburton were creating a well-integrity panic. They certainly managed to panic the government overseers, including Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who unilaterally ordered the top kill halted.

All this begs the question: was the Obama Administration avoiding "wasting" as crisis so as to build political support to pass Cap & Trade legislation in the Senate after it had already passed in the House, so Reid could present the legislation to President Obama to sign and thereby put the government in charge of the energy sector, much as ObamaCare gives him control of the healthcare sector? Obama was not alone in having a national oil spill to deal with or a leftist antipathy to oil because of a belief in carbon based "climate change". On August 21, 2009 off Australia's northwest coast the Montara rig had blown out creating Australia's biggest oil spill. That spill had been contained by November 3, 2009. More than five months before the Deepwater Horizon blew up there had been a similar accident in Australia. The Australian investigation found that the cause of that event was the failure of Halliburton cement in the shoe track of the production casing. But the Australian government delayed the release of their report while we were in the midst of our own source-control efforts. Given their political predilections, neither government had any interest in ending the BP spill too soon.

There is a very active debate in federal court in New Orleans between the government and BP over two source-control operations BP attempted, top kill and static kill. So far, the court has taken no action against Halliburton for "misplacing" actual samples of the cement used in the Deepwater Horizon shoe track or the physical samples of "rocks" that cascaded mixed with drilling mud onto the deck of the Damon Bankston before it pulled back to safety as the rig exploded that fateful night. Those "rocks" were reported to be in the custody of the USGS by Deputy Counsel Sambhav "Sam" Sankar during the Nov, 8, 2010 public hearing of the President's Oil Spill Commission. (see 02:26:22 of the video). Why is the DOJ avoiding presenting critical physical evidence in court? Nevertheless, the criminal plea agreements with Halliburton and Badalamenti have not addressed this evidence which links the Department of Justice and Halliburton in their combined effort to sell the too few centralizers meme.

Following the money, would we find significant political contributions from Halliburton to Markey and his fellow Democrats, all in the name of saving us from rising seas due to global warming?

Was the chance to kill the well in late May squandered to protect the AGW agenda? Did the Department of Interior set its minions to work burning the midnight oil to write the offshore drilling moratorium very early on May 27, 2010 as a response to BP's near success on their first attempt to staunch the flow of oil? Would Obama sell out the residents of the Gulf Coast for some cash and the chance to control the oil industry?

Enquiring minds want to find out.

The Associated Press has just reported that in the BP oil spill case...

Anthony Badalamenti, 62, of Katy, Texas, faces a maximum sentence of 1 year in prison and a $100,000 fine after his guilty plea in U.S. District Court to one misdemeanor count of destruction of evidence. His sentencing by U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey is set for Jan. 21.

This is important to the overall case because of both the timing and the nature of what evidence was destroyed.

In May 2010, according to prosecutors, Badalamenti directed a senior program manager to run computer simulations on centralizers, which are used to keep the casing centered in the wellbore. The results indicated there was little difference between using six or 21 centralizers.

The data could have supported BP's decision to use the lower number, but Justice Department prosecutor William Pericak said the number of centralizers had "little effect" on the outcome of the simulations.

Badalamenti instructed the program manager to delete the results. The program manager "felt uncomfortable" about the instruction but complied, according to prosecutors.

In May 2010, BP was in the midst of its initial source control effort. The Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20 and sank on April 22. BP began to assemble a team of well control experts, suppliers, peers and government overseers. During May the Democratic-controlled Congress held multiple hearings. A meme soon emerged, most publicly expounded by Ed Markey (D-MA) in Congress and on CNN nightly with Anderson Cooper,that BP had used too few centralizers based on a proprietary Halliburton Opti-Cem computer simulation and therefore they were grossly negligent. Gross negligence would up the size of fines under the Clean Water Act from $1,100 to $4,300 per barrel spilled. The substance of the plea agreement accepts that Markey's bombastic charges were not factually true. The number of centralizers BP used was not a cause of the accident.

A corollary is that BP and its well-control contractors were chasing a red herring, annular flow. Subsequent forensic inspection of the well, combined with the data from the successful static kill, including a positive pressure test, prove that the flow was up inside the production casing in a well with positive pressure integrity up to at least 10,000 psi. Given this knowledge, BP could have killed the well with the Top Kill by simply increasing the "bullheading" pressure enough to force mud down the well bore until the well was under enough hydrostatic pressure to kill the well (this is what finally occurred during the static kill on August 3rd). Markey and Halliburton were creating a well-integrity panic. They certainly managed to panic the government overseers, including Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who unilaterally ordered the top kill halted.

All this begs the question: was the Obama Administration avoiding "wasting" as crisis so as to build political support to pass Cap & Trade legislation in the Senate after it had already passed in the House, so Reid could present the legislation to President Obama to sign and thereby put the government in charge of the energy sector, much as ObamaCare gives him control of the healthcare sector? Obama was not alone in having a national oil spill to deal with or a leftist antipathy to oil because of a belief in carbon based "climate change". On August 21, 2009 off Australia's northwest coast the Montara rig had blown out creating Australia's biggest oil spill. That spill had been contained by November 3, 2009. More than five months before the Deepwater Horizon blew up there had been a similar accident in Australia. The Australian investigation found that the cause of that event was the failure of Halliburton cement in the shoe track of the production casing. But the Australian government delayed the release of their report while we were in the midst of our own source-control efforts. Given their political predilections, neither government had any interest in ending the BP spill too soon.

There is a very active debate in federal court in New Orleans between the government and BP over two source-control operations BP attempted, top kill and static kill. So far, the court has taken no action against Halliburton for "misplacing" actual samples of the cement used in the Deepwater Horizon shoe track or the physical samples of "rocks" that cascaded mixed with drilling mud onto the deck of the Damon Bankston before it pulled back to safety as the rig exploded that fateful night. Those "rocks" were reported to be in the custody of the USGS by Deputy Counsel Sambhav "Sam" Sankar during the Nov, 8, 2010 public hearing of the President's Oil Spill Commission. (see 02:26:22 of the video). Why is the DOJ avoiding presenting critical physical evidence in court? Nevertheless, the criminal plea agreements with Halliburton and Badalamenti have not addressed this evidence which links the Department of Justice and Halliburton in their combined effort to sell the too few centralizers meme.

Following the money, would we find significant political contributions from Halliburton to Markey and his fellow Democrats, all in the name of saving us from rising seas due to global warming?

Was the chance to kill the well in late May squandered to protect the AGW agenda? Did the Department of Interior set its minions to work burning the midnight oil to write the offshore drilling moratorium very early on May 27, 2010 as a response to BP's near success on their first attempt to staunch the flow of oil? Would Obama sell out the residents of the Gulf Coast for some cash and the chance to control the oil industry?

Enquiring minds want to find out.