Did Halliburton push its ‘cost-cutting’ cement?

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Did Halliburton Push Its ‘Cost-Cutting’ Cement?

Halliburton is the sloppy contractor with no license, bad B.O. and helpers off the street who use gravel to stretch the cement and pour your driveway without the rebar. Except writ large. And deadly.

As the New York Times story says, “Halliburton knew weeks before the fatal explosion of the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico that the cement mixture they planned to use to seal the bottom of the well was unstable but still went ahead with the job, the presidential commission investigating the accident said on Thursday.”

BP knew, too, having received the results of at least one of Halliburton’s three failed tests.

Details of the presidential commission’s investigation are skimpy: There’s no technical information on exactly what “failure” of the cement means, and no data posted yet on the Commission’s own web site.

But here’s my question: Was Halliburton trying to push the use of its own “LIGHT Cement” or similar products, to the exclusion of something more reliable in the situation aboard the BP rig? And was the major consideration cost-cutting, which is advertised by Halliburton as the major benefit of the product? One Halliburton case study touts a savings of “at least $250,000 for Chevron” in a 2003 cement job.

Did they have a whole bunch of raw materials on hand that would have cost something to remove and replace after the failed tests?

The public, and the spill’s victims need all of these details: the actual testing results, the chemical composition of the cement that failed, the narratives of workers who saw the test failures and went ahead with pouring Halliburton’s cement formula down the doomed well.

Just knowing that the cement “failed a test” is not enough.

This is, of course, not the mega-contractor’s first brush with deadly carelessness for profit. It was a former Halliburton subsidiary, KBR, that built and maintained U.S. military shower rooms in Iraq so carelessly and incompetently wired that 11 soldiers and two civilians were killed by electrocution.

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