By Houston Business Journal

Halliburton Co., which provided the cement used in the Macondo well that blew apart and led to the BP Plc Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill, on Tuesday criticized certain portions of the federal government spill panel report released that day.

In a statement, Halliburton (NYSE: HAL) said it disagreed with the reportâ¿¿s characterization of the February and April foam stability tests related to the cement pumped on the Macondo well, and cites four examples of details related to those tests that the company questions.

Halliburton, which has dual headquarters in Houston and Dubai, said that the national commission ⿿selectively omitted⿝ information that the company said it provided to the government panel in response to several inquiries.

⿿Halliburton does not believe the issues relating to cement testing invalidates BP Exploration⿿s indemnification obligations as discussed in Halliburton⿿s Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2010,⿝ the company said.

Click here to read the full Halliburton response.

Analysts also jumped to Halliburton's defense. Stephen Gengaro and David Duong of Jefferies & Co. Inc. issued a note to investors that reiterated a "buy" rating on the stock.

"Within our universe, HAL remains our top pick for investors who want to play the ongoing strength in the North American oil and liquids-rich drilling environment. HAL is also very well positioned to post strong growth internationally over the next 2-3 years, in our opinion," the note said.

And David Pursell, managing director and head of macro research for Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. LLC, said that for the government to flatly say that Halliburton knew ahead of time that the cement was bad "is absurd."

As for the overall recommendations in Tuesday's report, Pursell was quite succinct in his initial reaction.

Said Pursell, "It's really what we had already expected. It says industry can expect more regulations that will cost more, and they are asking industry to pay for it."

Copyright 2011 American City Business Journals

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