Halliburton has been cleared by Lt. Gen. Robert Flowers, the
commander of the Army Corps of Engineers, in a scandal that involved
accusations of overcharges by the Texas-based company, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Flowers took the action, called a waiver, Dec. 19, but it
was not disclosed or reported on by media outlets until Jan. 6. The action
relieves the firm from the need to provide information that would justify its
In early December, The
New York Times, quoting “government documents,” said the company and its
Kellogg Brown & Root subsidiary, which
administers the contract, were charging the U.S. government an average of $2.64
a gallon to import gasoline and other fuel to Iraq from Kuwait, more than twice
what others are paying to truck in Kuwaiti fuel.
A spokeswoman for Halliburton, Wendy
Hall, defended the company's pricing at that time.
"It is expensive to purchase, ship
and deliver fuel into a wartime situation, especially when you are limited by
short-duration contracting," she said.
The cost of the
imported fuel first came to public attention in October when two senior
Democrats in Congress criticized Halliburton, the huge Houston-based oil-field
services company, for "inflating gasoline prices at a great cost to
Flowers decision to clear
the company came in the wake of a Corps memo that said KBR showed through
data it had
charged a "fair and
reasonable price." However, The
Journal reported, his decision could undermine an audit by Pentagon
officials that is now under way.
However, it will not stop Halliburton from losing much if
not all of its oil business in Iraq. That’s because the Pentagon had already
decided in late December to remove the Houston company from providing gasoline
to Iraq and turn the duty over to the Defense Energy Support Center, which buys the military’s
fuel all over the world, The Associated
Press reported Dec. 31.
The controversy has become the political football of the
season, with Democrats leading the way in criticizing Halliburton, which was
formerly lead by Vice President Dick Cheney.
A number of American owner-operators
and OOIDA members are
working overseas for Kellogg Brown & Root, and many truckers have called
OOIDA asking for contact information
for the company.