Disaster capitalists: Halliburton to make money off oil spill

Does a company that both builds oil rigs and cleans up oil spills have any motivation to prevent oil rig disasters?

Raw Story, June 18th 2010

That’s the question some people in business and politics are asking themselves after Halliburton’s purchase of an oil clean-up company 10 days before the Deepwater Horizon explosion that killed 11 workers and launched the worst oil spill in US history.

Some observers see a conspiracy in the actions of the company once headed by Dick Cheney. Halliburton, which built the cement casing for the Deepwater Horizon’s drill, announced its purchase of Houston-based oilfield services company Boots and Coots for $240 million on April 9, just 11 days before the Deepwater Horizon explosion.

According to a report at the Christian Science Monitor Friday, Boots and Coots is now under contract with BP to help with the oil spill. The company “focuses on oil spill prevention and blowout response,” CSM reports. Halliburton’s purchase is not yet a done deal — it’s still awaiting regulatory approval, though few observers think the purchase won’t pass muster.

“[Mergers and acquisitions] in the industrial and oil services sectors is totally normal,” writes David Anderson at The Inspired Economist, “but the timing in this case, is not. Boots & Coots sure seems like the perfect company to own if it would soon become necessary to get more involved with some oil disaster.

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Tom Sullivan