US arrests former BP engineer in Deepwater oil spill case

24 April 2012 19:46  [Source: ICIS news]

(includes updates throughout)

HOUSTON (ICIS)--The US arrested a former BP engineer who was accused of destroying evidence about  the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Department of Justice said on Tuesday.

Kurt Mix, 50, of Katy, Texas, was charged with two counts of obstruction of justice, the department said. The charges were filed in US District Court, eastern district of Louisiana.

The US accused Mix of deleting records connected to the amount of oil that escaped from the April 2010 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.

The blast killed 11 people.

After the blowout, Mix worked with others at BP to estimate the amount of oil that leaked from the well, the department said. He was also involved in attempts to stop the leak.

During the time, BP sent several notices to Mix, telling him to keep all information about the well, including his text messages, the US said.

The US alleged that around 4 October, 2010, Mix deleted a string of text messages from his iPhone, which contained more than 200 messages with a BP supervisor.

The US accused Mix of deleting the messages after he learned that his electronic files would be collected by a vendor working for BP's lawyers.

Around 19 August 2011, Mix deleted another string of more than 100 text messages, the US alleged.

The US accused Mix of deleted these messages after learning that his iPhone was about to be imaged by a vendor working for BP's outside counsel.

By the time Mix allegedly deleted the messages in 2011, he had received several notices requiring him to preserve such information, the US alleged.

If convicted, Mix could face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 (€190,000) for each of the two counts, the US said.

In a statement, BP said it was cooperating with the Department of Justice and other investigations into the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Additional reporting by Bobbie Clark

($1 = €0.76)

By: Al Greenwood
+1 713 525 2645

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