Halliburton Can’t Add Fraud to Claims Against BP, Judge Says

Halliburton Co. (HAL) can’t pursue an allegation of fraud in its claims against BP Plc (BP/) over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, a judge in New Orleans said.

A Halliburton unit that provided cementing services for the project claimed BP hid information about an additional hydrocarbon zone in the well, a possibly dangerous condition, before and after the blowout. Halliburton said it didn’t learn of critical data about the zone until a July 7, 2011, deposition of a BP scientist.

BP denied any failure to disclose information and said Halliburton missed a deadline to file claims over the spill. Halliburton waited too long to bring the allegation and can’t amend its complaint, U.S. Magistrate Judge Sally Shushan said.

“Halliburton possessed sufficient information either through its own investigation or with information produced by BP to assert its fraud claim by May 20, 2011,” Shushan said in a three page order. “There was undue delay on Halliburton’s part in asserting the fraud claim. There would be undue prejudice to BP if the amendment is allowed.”

Blowout, Explosion

The Macondo blowout and the explosion that followed killed 11 workers and set off the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. The accident and spill led to hundreds of lawsuits against London-based BP and its partners and contractors. The lawsuits over economic losses and personal injuries have been combined before U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans.

Daren Beaudo, BP’s spokesman, declined to comment on the ruling today. Beverly Stafford, Halliburton’s spokeswoman, had no immediate comment.

The lawsuits also name as defendants Transocean Ltd. (RIG), the Switzerland-based owner and operator of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that exploded; Houston-based Halliburton; and Cameron International Corp. (CAM), which provided blowout-prevention equipment. BP’s minority partners in the well, Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (APC) and Mitsui & Co.’s Moex Offshore LLC unit, were also sued.

The case is In Re Oil Spill by the Oil Rig Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, MDL-2179, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans).

To contact the reporters on this story: Margaret Cronin Fisk in Southfield, Michigan, at mcfisk@bloomberg.net; Laurel Brubaker Calkins in Houston at laurel@calkins.us.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.

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