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Thick oil is seen washed ashore from an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Thick oil is seen washed ashore from an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal judge has accepted a plea agreement that calls for Halliburton Energy Services to pay a $200,000 fine for destroying evidence after BP’s 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Halliburton pleaded guilty Thursday to a misdemeanor charge stemming from the deletion of data during a post-spill review of the cement job on BP’s blown-out Macondo well.

The Houston-based company could have withdrawn its guilty plea if U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo had rejected its deal with the Justice Department.

Halliburton also agreed to make a $55 million contribution to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, but that payment was not a condition of the deal.

The company was BP’s cement contractor on the drilling rig that exploded in the Gulf in April 2010, killing 11 workers.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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