Gulf Oil Spill: There's Something About Halliburton

Are there corporate rewards for behaving badly?

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What is it about Halliburton? Are there corporate rewards for behaving badly?

Not just badly. Badly with self-destructive, short-sighted enthusiasm.

Even if they didn't care about the ecological damage, you would think that somebody at the company, having gotten back the third separate test showing that the cement it was planning to use on BP's deepwater drill in the Gulf of Mexico was unstable, would have said: "Hey guys, we could kill some good guys, put a big hurt on the economy of the southeast United States, and give the oil industry and offshore drilling a big black eye!"

But nobody stopped it. The cement cap failed. Eleven workers died and the Gulf got wasted by the oil spill. Even BP is ticked off, and turning on its fellow energy firm. It was BP that first alleged that Halliburton was having problems getting the cement to stabilize in the weeks before the disaster. Now the federal commission investigating the catastrophe has confirmed BP's findings. Halliburton, in turn, blames BP.

I thought free market economics--you know, survival of the fittest--was supposed to weed out the lame and inefficient. Yes, Halliburton's stock plunged at the news. But the firm will be back, I suspect. Halliburton seems to find its way. I guess there is an exception to the rules of capitalism if you're politically connected. And helping to feed our energy jones.

  • Check out our editorial cartoons on the Gulf oil spill.
  • See the oil industry's favorite lawmakers.
  • See a slide show of a reality check on U.S. energy sources.