Halliburton Co. pleaded guilty to destroying evidence related to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the U.S. Department of Justice said Thursday.
The government said the guilty plea is the third by a company over the spill, and requires the world’s second-largest oilfield services company to pay a maximum $200,000 statutory fine. Halliburton also made a separate, voluntary $55 million payment to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Justice Department said.
Halliburton also agreed to three years of probation, and to continue cooperating with the criminal probe into the April 20, 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.
Before the settlement is final, there must be court approval.
A Halliburton spokeswoman did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The disaster caused 11 deaths and triggered the largest U.S. offshore oil spill following the rupture of the Macondo oil well, which was 65 percent owned by BP Plc. Halliburton had earlier provided cementing services to help seal the well.
According to the government, Halliburton recommended to BP the Macondo well contain 21 centralizers, metal collars that can improve cementing, but BP chose to use six.
The government said, during an internal probe into the cementing after the blowout, Halliburton ordered workers to destroy computer simulations that showed little difference between using six and 21 centralizers. Efforts to forensically locate the simulations were unsuccessful, the government said.
A document detailing the allegations is in the U.S. District Court in New Orleans.
BP and Transocean Ltd previously entered guilty pleas related to other aspects of the Gulf oil spill.