Halliburton takes a hit of $1bn to settle Gulf oil spill claims

Halliburton is in talks to settle private claims against it in a trial to decide how to allocate blame for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill, the US oilfield services giant said yesterday as it took a $1bn (£656m) pre-tax charge for a possible deal.

Disclosure of the talks helped push Halliburton shares up more than 3 per cent afternoon trade in New York, even though the charge pushed the company to a first-quarter loss.

The news came days after the end of court proceedings for the first phase of the trial over claims by the US government, Gulf Coast states and private parties affected by the US oil spill. Halliburton did the cement work on the Macondo well, which shed more than 4 million barrels of oil.