On Tuesday, May 24th, 2012, Kurt Mix, a former BP engineer, was arrested for destroying evidence of communications requested by federal criminal authorities who were investigating the Deepwater Horizon disaster that occurred on April 20th, 2010. Mix has been charged with two counts of obstruction of justice that were filed in the Eastern District of Louisiana on Tuesday.
The Deepwater Horizon rig experienced an extreme and uncontrollable blowout and explosions on April 20th, 2010 when the Macondo well was being finished. This event killed eleven men that were on board. Following this blowout, Mix, who was a completions project engineer for BP at the time, worked internally to gather the quantity of oil leaking from the well and helped to control and stop the leak. Top Kill was the failed and well known BP effort which required heavy mud to be pumped into the blown out wellhead. At this time, BP sent notification to Mix requiring to him to retain all of this information.
Around October 4th, 2010, when Mix learned that he needed to provide the electronic files and give them to a vendor working for BP’s lawyers, Mix allegedly deleted his iPhone string of text messages between him and the BP supervisor. Some of these texts were recovered and they contained sensitive material indicating that Top Kill was failing. In addition, Mix deleted text messages between him and a BP contactor regarding concern for the oil flow from the Macondo well after the blowout.
If convicted, Mix will potentially face 20 years in person and a fine up to $250,000. The investigation regarding the Deepwater Horizon disaster is still ongoing.