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Halliburton knew oil disaster cement was unstable

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Haliburton used flawed cement in Gulf rigHalliburton Co. used flawed cement in BP Plc's doomed Gulf of Mexico well, which could have contributed to the blowout that sparked the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, a White House panel said on Thursday.

Halliburton's shares tumbled as much as 16 percent after the National Oil Spill Commission released a letter detailing the panel's findings, before recovering to close down nearly 8 percent at $31.68 per share on the New York Stock Exchange. BP's U.S.-listed shares closed up 1.3 percent at $40.60 per share.

While not absolving BP of responsibility, the report heaped criticism on Halliburton's cement job, raising investor concerns it could be forced to bear some of the clean-up costs. BP has taken a $32.2 billion earnings charge to cover the cleanup.

The cost to insure Halliburton's debt jumped on the news.

Halliburton had run a series of tests that showed the material was unstable in the weeks before the April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig, which killed 11 workers and spurred a temporary ban on deepwater U.S. drilling.

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