What Was Halliburton's Role in the Gulf Spill?

| Mon May 3, 2010 10:11 AM EDT

The probe into what exactly caused the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon and the subsequent environmental catastrophe has expanded to Halliburton, which poured the cement for the drill hole. House investigators want to know what role the energy services giant may have played in the rig explosion.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee has requested that Halliburton president and CEO David J. Lesar "provide the Committee with any documents in your possession or that you have prepared that relate to the causes or potential causes of the Deepwater Horizon rig incident." Lesar has been called to testify at a May 12 hearing on the explosion. Also appearing at the hearing will be Lamar McKay of BP America Inc. and Steve Newman of Transocean Ltd.

"Halliburton continues to assist in efforts to identify the factors that may have lead up to the disaster, but it is premature and irresponsible to speculate on any specific causal issues," the company said in a statement. The company also said that "the cement slurry design was consistent with that utilized in other similar application" and that "tests demonstrating the integrity of the production casing string were completed."

Halliburton also poured the cement for a rig that caused a major spill into the Timor Sea off the coast of western Australia last August. That spill continued for months, and the rig eventually caught fire. Ultimately, 1.2 million gallons of oil seeped into the surrounding sea.