Cheney oil firm widens Iraq role
Oliver Burkeman in Washington
Thursday May 8, 2003
Halliburton, the company formerly run by the US vice-president, Dick Cheney, has been granted a far broader role in Iraq than previously disclosed and is already operating oilfields in the country, the US army admitted yesterday.
Kellogg Brown and Root, a Halliburton subsidiary, is pumping up oil despite earlier claims that its contract with the American government was for fighting oil fires, a spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers told the Guardian.
The bigger role, said corps spokesman Scott Saunders, was being exercised "due to the needs of the Iraqi people". About 125,000 barrels a day were produced, he said, for domestic purposes only.
The revelation came after Henry Waxman, a Democratic congressman, published correspondence in which the army said KBR's emergency contract allowed for its involvement in "operation of facilities and distribution of products". The existence of the contract, awarded with no competition before the war, was made public only in March.
But General Robert Flowers' letter also disclosed that similar terms could be included in a follow-up contract, reported to be worth $600m (£375m).
Wendy Hall, a Halliburton spokeswoman, said the company had made the scope of the contract clear in March. Yesterday she added: "We are proud to help restore Iraq's oil infrastructure."
But Mr Waxman wrote that he was puzzled a solicitation was being prepared for a long-term contract on Iraqi oil that seemed to contradict a view that "the oilfields belong to the people of Iraq".
· President Bush yesterday urged the nations on the UN security council to lift sanctions against Iraq, saying no country should use sanctions "to hold back the hopes of the Iraqi people."
Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2003 http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0