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In 1919, Halliburton Company, then simply called Halliburton, was founded by Erle Palmer Halliburton. He was driven to open his own oil well cementing company after being fired from Perkins Oil Well Cementing Company. Although Halliburton Co. never used asbestos themselves, they have been named in hundreds of thousands of asbestos cases.

Since its humble beginnings in Texas, Halliburton Company has grown to become a world leader, with headquarters in Texas and Dubai. The company has experienced asbestos litigation issues stemming from the companies they’ve acquired. These lawsuits led Halliburton to file for bankruptcy in 2003 and form an asbestos trust to compensate victims diagnosed with mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases.


Halliburton Company’s History of Asbestos Use

Quick Facts
  • Years in Operation: 1919 – present
  • Location: Houston, Texas
  • Production: Oil-related industrial equipment
  • Asbestos Trust: Yes

Erle Halliburton began his company after his firing from Perkins Oil Well Cementing Company. Allegedly, Halliburton was let go due to his numerous suggestions on how the Perkins company could improve. Using the skills he gained through his time serving in the Navy and his short stint at Perkins, he set out to change the oil industry.

He moved from California to Texas to introduce his ideas to the oil industry. Unfortunately, Texas wasn’t impressed. Unfazed, Halliburton moved to Oklahoma and pressed on.

Halliburton Company never used asbestos, however, it faced hundreds of thousands of asbestos lawsuits due to their subsidiaries’ use of the fiber.

In Oklahoma, Halliburton Company was a quick success. By 1932, the company had four branches and 75 crews and offered services in seven states. As oil continued to gain popularity in the United States, and across the world, the Halliburton Company prospered. The company’s large profit margin led them to acquire many companies, including Brown & Root Inc. in 1962 and Dresser Industries Inc. in 1998.

These two acquisitions would prove problematic for Halliburton. Although Halliburton Company didn’t use asbestos themselves, Brown & Root Inc. and Dresser Industries used asbestos in their products, leading to asbestos cases. Through the Dresser acquisition alone, Halliburton inherited 300,000 asbestos claims. These claims and the related litigation costs led the company to file for bankruptcy in December 2003.

Halliburton Company Asbestos Products

Halliburton Company’s asbestos products are the result of their acquisitions of Brown & Root Inc. and Dresser Industries. The companies are now known as DII Industries, LLC and Kellogg Brown & Root.

The Halliburton subsidiaries used asbestos in their products to increase resistance to heat and fire and increase durability and insulation properties. For example, Dresser and its acquisition, Harbison-Walker, used asbestos in their bricks and pipe coatings. Harbison-Walker produced asbestos-containing products from the 1900s into the 1970s. It has been alleged the companies were aware of the dangers of asbestos but continued to use the additive in their production as a cost-saving measure.

Halliburton Company Products Containing Asbestos Include:

Pumps

  • Worthington Horizontal Single Air and Steam Heating Vacuum “AE” and “AF” Pumps
  • Worthington Monobloc Centrifugal Pump and “DE” Monobloc Pump
  • Worthington Split Case Centrifugal Horizontal Single Stage Volute Pump Types “R”, “L” and “U”
  • Worthington Horizontal Duplex Piston Pattern Steam Pump “VA” and “VC” Pumps
  • Worthington General Purpose “CF” Model Pump
  • Dresser Pumps
  • Ingersoll-Dresser Pumps
  • Pacific Steam Turbopumps (used on passenger ships)

Compressors

  • Clark Compressors
  • Roots Compressors
  • Worthington Compressors
  • Dresser-Rand Compressors
  • LeRoi Compressors

Turbines

  • Moore Turbines
  • Worthington Turbines
  • Worthington-Moore Turbines
  • Dresser-Rand Steam Turbines

Drilling Muds

  • IMCO Drilling Mud Styles:  – Best, Diaseal M, Flosal, Shurlift, Super Best, Super Visbestos, Univis, Visbestos
  • Magcobar/Dresser Drilling Mud Styles:  – Diaseal M, Flosal, Olifaze, Visbestos, Visquick
  • Baroid Drilling Mud Styles: – Flosal, Diaseal M, Visbestos, Super Visbestos

Miscellaneous Products

  • Alco Locomotives
  • Bay State Abrasive Products
  • Kellogg Brown & Root
  • Mason Standard Reducing Valves
  • Mid-Valley

Asbestos-containing products produced by Halliburton Company and its subsidiaries were used throughout the oil industry, but also could be found on ships, locomotives and for other uses.

Halliburton Company and Occupational Exposure

Halliburton Company asbestos products were used widely throughout many industries. Those who experience repeated long-term asbestos exposure, like on certain jobsites, are most at risk of developing asbestos-related diseases. Occupational asbestos exposure is the most common cause of mesothelioma and other diseases and continues to impact many former Halliburton Co. employees.

In addition to Halliburton Company employees, anyone who came in contact with its asbestos products through work may have been exposed, including shipyard workers and train workers.

Occupations Impacted by Halliburton Company’s Asbestos Use

Asbestos Litigation Against Halliburton Company

In 2001, Halliburton asbestos verdicts in Texas, Mississippi and Maryland totaled more than $150 million.

Halliburton Company’s asbestos litigation began in the 1970s, but reached a boiling point in the early 2000s. The first asbestos lawsuit was filed against the company in 1976 and was the beginning of decades of asbestos-related costs. Between 1976 and the early 2000s, Halliburton was named in more than 474,000 asbestos claims. The company has reported paying $900 million in asbestos settlements between 2002 and 2004.

In addition to the costs related to asbestos victim compensation, the Halliburton Company faced a drastic drop in stock prices as a result of the asbestos claims. In 2001, Halliburton stock dropped more than 40% in just one day. This loss in revenue, coupled with the vast amounts paid to compensate victims, was problematic. In 2003, the company filed for bankruptcy. Between 2002 and 2005, when their bankruptcy was approved, their asbestos costs were more than $3 billion.

Halliburton Company Asbestos Trust Fund

The current payment percentage for successful claims is 60%.

A $5.1 billion asbestos trust fund was formed as a result of Halliburton’s bankruptcy. These funds were the culmination of almost 60 million company shares and $2.8 billion in cash.

The trust, DII Industries, LLC Asbestos PI Trust, was created on January 20, 2005, and began accepting claims at that time. In the interest of protecting the rights of future asbestos claimants, all successful claims filed against the trust are compensated according to a set payment percentage. However, this base payment percentage may be impacted by a number of factors, including but not limited to, age, exposure, type and firm settlement history. These factors may result in higher payment amounts for certain claimants.

The trust is operational and still accepting claims today.

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