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Home  » Industries » War & Disaster Profiteering » Company Profiles » Halliburton


by Charlie

For the latest company profile on Halliburton, visit our corporate malfeasance wiki,

Halliburton is a leader in the oil services industry, it provides engineering and construction services for oil extraction and development. After separating from Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR) in 2007, it is no longer in the business of providing military logistics support.

Global Fortune 500 position: 310
Ownership status: Publicly traded
Number of employees worldwide: After splitting from KBR Halliburton continues to be one of the world’s largest oil and gas services companies, with nearly 50,000 employees in approximately 70 countries.
Chief executive officer: David Lesar, President, CEO and Chairman of the Board.
Tel: 713 759 2605
Corporate accountability
Accountability overview: 

For coverage of Halliburton and its KBR subsidiary's involvement in Iraq and other corporate accountability, see Halliburton Watch, which links to numerous reports by CorpWatch, congressional committee investigations, related books etc.


Halliburton officials have been accused of coordinating a scheme to bribe Nigerian government officials over a period of years in association with the Bonny Island liquid natural gas (LNG) project. Bribing foreign governments is a criminal offense under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Albert Jack Stanley, a company official who was later fired by Halliburton after investigators say he received $5 million in "improper" payments from an outside attorney working for the company -- Jeffrey Tesler. The Independent (UK) reported that "Mr Stanley had been appointed to his senior role at Halliburton by Mr. (Dick) Cheney when he was chief executive between 1995 and 2000." (The Independent, Oct. 3, 2004.) The Wall Street Journal confirmed that Cheney "named Mr. Stanley … to a top post at the company in 1998." (Wall Street Journal, Sept. 29, 2004.)

Stanley reported to David Lesar, then Halliburton's president and chief operating officer, and currently the company's CEO. Lesar reported to Cheney when Cheney was chief executive. (Dallas Morning News, Sept. 8, 2004.) (Important Note: Lesar is an accountant and former Arthur Andersen partner, meaning he may have been in a position to ask about the purpose of payments to Tesler when they occurred.) According to the Dallas Morning News, "Mr. Cheney ran Halliburton when one of four suspicious payments occurred." (Dallas Morning News, Sept. 8, 2004.)

For a detailed timeline of the Nigeria Bonny Island bribery case, see Halliburton

Tax issues: 

On March 4, 2004, Senators Levin (D-MI) and Dorgan (D-ND) released a GAO report on tax avoidance by federal contractors. At the time, Halliburton had 17 subsidiaries in tax haven countries, including 13 in the Cayman Islands which does not impose a corporate tax.

In 2002, Citizen Works Citizen Works found that Halliburton ranked 8th Among the Fortune 500 companies with the most offshore tax haven subsidiaries.

Dorgan, who chairs the Senate Democratic Policy Committee, has also noted that Halliburton avoids accountability by hiring employees under its subsidiary in the Cayman Islands, a tax haven country in the Caribbean, which allows for avoidance of U.S. tax, worker safety and other laws. "We've had a report showing a large percentage of corporations doing business with the federal government that are creating subsidiaries in tax haven countries," he said. "They want all of the largesse of contracting with our government and none of the responsibilities of paying taxes."

During Dick Cheney's tenure as Halliburton's CEO, the number of company subsidiaries located in offshore tax havens increased from 9 (in 1995) to 44 (in 1999). One of these subsidiaries (Halliburton Products and Services Ltd.), was incorporated in the Caiman Islands, and was used to get around sanctions on doing business in Iran. (Erwin Seba, Reuters, March 20, 2003)

When Halliburton announced it was relocating its corporate headquarters from Houston to Dubai, critics suggested the move might help the company avoid paying its fair share of taxes.

Martin Sullivan, contributing editor at the nonpartisan Tax Notes magazine, told MSNBC that relocating to the no-tax jurisdiction of Dubai would change Halliburton's tax situation "significantly" even though the company would still be registered in the US. By re-locating its CEO and other top executives to Dubai, Halliburton can argue that a portion of its profits should be attributed to the no-tax jurisdiction, he said.

Members of Congress called for an investigation. Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) said, "I want to know, is Halliburton trying to run away from bad publicity on their contracts? Are they trying to run away from the obligation to pay US taxes? Or are they trying to set up a corporate presence in Dubai so that they can avoid the restrictions that currently exist on doing business with prohibited countries like Iran?"

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said, "This is an insult to the US soldiers and taxpayers who paid the tab for their no-bid contracts and endured their overcharges for all these years."

And Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the powerful House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, asked Halliburton to explain the reasons for the move. "I want to understand the ramifications for U.S. taxpayers and national security," he said.

Also see "Halliburton's Tax Haven Explained" by


Much of Halliburton/KBR's government business in Iraq and Kuwait, already worth tens of billions, is being carried out by the world's poor people. Many of these people are underpaid, working for wages that are one-tenth of what U.S. workers receive, thereby creating more profits on the margins for Halliburton and its subcontractors. For example, NPR reported in October 2007 a Pakistani dishwasher at a forward operating base in Diyala was being paid $1.25 an hour for two years work for the Saudi-based food-services firm, Tamimi, a KBR subcontractor.

Much of Halliburton's work is conducted by foreign subsidiaries, which means that even U.S. employees may find it difficult to file claims against the company for break of contract in places like Iraq should they wish to do so. Under Texas law, employees may not be entitled to unemployment benefits who were employed by a Halliburton subsidiary that is incorporated in a "foreign" nation. In one case, the Texas Workforce Commission ruled against a former Halliburton employee by concluding: "The claimant is not entitled to unemployment benefits because [Halliburton's foreign subsidiary] does not satisfy the definition for an 'American employer' under the [Texas] statute."

Political influence: 

Vice President Dick Cheney told NBC's Meet the Press "I have absolutely no influence of, involvement of, knowledge of in any way, shape or form of contracts" that Halliburton received in Iraq.

But an internal Pentagon email later obtained by Time magazine indicates that months before the war "action" on the Iraqi oil contract was "coordinated" with Cheney's office. Two months before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the Wall Street Journal reported, "The Bush administration is eager to secure Iraq's oil fields and rehabilitate them, industry officials say. They say Mr. Cheney's staff hosted an informational meeting with industry executives in October, with Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Texaco Corp., ConocoPhillips and Halliburton among the companies represented. Both the Bush administration and the companies say such a meeting never took place." (Thaddeus Herrick, "U.S. Oil Wants to Work in Iraq," Wall Street Journal, Jan. 17, 2003.)

In addition, Cheney has resisted public requests for disclosure of documents relating to his secret Energy Task Force that proved he was investigating Iraq's oil fields prior to the war. Some of the documents were released only after a judge ordered Cheney to make them public.

Whether or not Cheney's office influenced the decision to give KBR a no-bid contract to repair Iraq's oil infrastructure, the Army Corps of Engineers top civilian contracting official, Bunnatine Greenhouse, told a congressional committee that "[T]he abuse related to contracts awarded to KBR represents the most blatant and improper contract abuse I have witnessed during the course of my professional career." (Greenhouse was demoted after blowing the whistle, despite a stellar work performance record.)

KBR, Inc., won more than $16 billion in U.S. government contracts for work in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2004 to 2006—far more than any other company, according to "Windfalls of War II", a 2007 analysis by the Center for Public Integrity.

For details about the waste, fraud and other abuses committed by KBR/Halliburton through its war-related contracts, see Halliburton, CorpWatch, The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform,and The Senate Democratic Policy Committee.

For information on Halliburton's lobbyists, visit Halliburton Watch

Other Examples

Soon after Hurricane Katrina, former FEMA head Joe Albaugh, a Halliburton registered lobbyist, encamped in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, "helping his clients get business from perhaps the worst natural disaster in the nation's history." (Washington Post September 8, 2005; Page A27)

Charles Domini, a retired three-star general hired by Cheney in 1995 to work as vice president of business development for Kellogg Brown & Root, has been on both sides of the revolving door between Halliburton and the military. He was a general with the Army in 1992 when it first awarded Halliburton its most lucrative contract, known as LOGCAP. Then, after Halliburton was fired by the Army in 1997, Domini was an employee of Halliburton when the Army re-hired the company to handle the LOGCAP contract.

Domini is only one example of the symbiotic relationship between Halliburton and the military. His promotion to chief lobbyist in 2001 occurred because the former chief lobbyist, Dave Gribbin, retired from Halliburton to join Cheney in the Bush administration. Gribbin has a long history with Cheney that includes working for him in Congress, the Pentagon, Halliburton and now in the White House.

Brief company history: 

Halliburton's history began in the Texas/Oklahoma "oil patch" shortly after the end of World War I. Earl Halliburton of Tennessee came to Oklahoma to develop and refine a new process known as "oil well cementing." The process involves sending cement down an oil well to create a wall to seal-out water and other unwanted contaminants. The oil well cementing process, still used today, stabilizes the oil well and thereby allows drillers to extract oil more easily and efficiently.

Brown & Root, was established in 1919 and incorporated in Delaware in 1924. Two brothers, George and Herman Brown, and their brother-in-law, Dan Root, started the firm by paving roads. It was basically a cement company and nothing more. But the brothers soon began manufacturing complex oil platforms, dams and Navy warships.

Starting in the 1930s Brown & Root hitched its fortune in part (and vice versa) to the career of Lyndon B. Johnson, then an ambitious young congressman who helped the company secure federal contracts for a dam project back in Texas.

Halliburton and Brown and Root merged in 1963 under the name Halliburton, maintaining separate businesses inside one loose corporate structure -- the engineering and contracting side (Brown & Root) and the oil services side (Halliburton). In the late 1970s and early 1980s oil price fluctuations forced the company to more fully integrate the disparate operations into one streamlined firm.

Brown and Root rode LBJ's coattails into the Vietnam War, where it obtained numerous military construction contracts, including a contract to construct the infamous "tiger cages." The arrival of Dick Cheney as CEO in 1995 helped the company climb the ladder of the largest federal contractors from number 73 before his arrival to the 18th-largest defense contractor. Under Cheney's tenure as CEO, Halliburton's revenue from federal government contracts nearly doubled. Government-backed loans from the Export-Import bank increased from $100 million to $1.5 billion.

Halliburton saw its revenue increase 30 percent to $16 billion in 2003, largely because of its military contracts in the middle east. Halliburton was the number one U.S. Army contractor in 2003 with the total value of its Army contracts valued at $3,731,725,648. Dan Briody, in his book The Halliburton Agenda, described Halliburton's relationship with Cheney as "the embodiment of the Iron Triangle, the nexus of the government, military, and big business that President Eisenhower warned America about in his farewell speech."

Halliburton and KBR separated once again in 2006, with Halliburton focusing on oil services and KBR continuing as a separate entity focused on engineering, construction, and military supply contracting. Halliburton moved its operational headquarters to Dubai, while remaining incorporated in Delaware and retaining offices in Houston.

(A number of books provide useful explorations of Halliburton's history, including "The Halliburton Agenda" by Dan Briody, "Cronies" by Robert Bryce, and "How Much Are You Making in the War, Daddy?" by William D. Hartung).

Financial information
Stock ticker symbol: HAL
Specialized Information
Information that is harder to get than the rest.


Bush is gone, but Halliburton keeps cashing checks
by Pratap
June 3rd, 2009
All was remarkably staid as shareholders celebrated Halliburton's $4 billion in operating profits in 2008 at the company's recent AGM in Houston, a striking 22 percent return at a time when many companies are announcing record losses. At the same time, Sen. Byron Dorgan's Senate Democratic Policy Committee was holding a hearing on Capitol Hill focused on abuses by former subsidiary KBR.

KBR and Halliburton Can Be Sued For Iraq Toxic Burn Pits, Court Rules
by Fatima HansiaCorpWatch Blog
April 17th, 2014
KBR and Halliburton – two major U.S. military contractors – can be sued for the health impacts of trash incineration on U.S. soldiers who served in the war in Iraq, according to a new court decision that allows a series of 57 lawsuits against the companies to go forward.

Trafficking Lawsuit Against KBR for Wrongful Deaths in Iraq Dismissed
by Richard SmallteacherCorpWatch Blog
January 17th, 2014
Families of 12 Nepali workers killed in Iraq in August 2004 have been denied permission by a federal judge to sue KBR, the former subsidiary of Halliburton of Houston, in an abrupt reversal of a previous court decision.

US/IRAQ: U.S. Companies Join Race on Iraqi Oil Bonanza
January 13th, 2010
American companies have been arriving in Iraq to pursue an expected multibillion-dollar bonanza of projects to revive the country’s petroleum industry. But there are questions about the Iraqi government’s capacity to police the companies. “These are for-profit concerns and they are trying to make as much money as they can,” said Pratap Chatterjee of CorpWatch.

Is Halliburton Forgiven and Forgotten? Or How to Stay Out of Sight While Profiting From the War in Iraq
by Pratap
June 3rd, 2009
At Halliburton's recent annual shareholders meeting in Houston, all was remarkably staid as the company celebrated its $4 billion in 2008 operating profits, a striking 22% return at a time when many companies are announcing record losses. Just three months ago, however, Halliburton didn't hesitate to pay $382 million in fines to the U.S. Department of Justice as part of the settlement of a controversial KBR gas project in Nigeria in which the company admitted to paying a $180 million bribe to government officials.

Book Release: "Halliburton's Army: How A Well-Connected Texas Oil Company Revolutionized The Way America Makes War"
by Pratap ChatterjeeNation Books
February 3rd, 2009
In "HALLIBURTON’S ARMY: How a Well-Connected Texas Oil Company Revolutionized the Way America Makes War" (Nation Books; February 9, 2009; $26.95), muckraking journalist Pratap Chatterjee conducts a highly detailed investigation into Halliburton and its former subsidiary KBR’s activities in Kuwait and Iraq, uncovering much new information about its questionable practices and extraordinary profits.

An extended interview with the author of Halliburton’s Army: How a Well-Connected Texas Oil Company Revolutionized the Way America Makes War.
by Mike SheaTexas Monthly
January 31st, 2009
Interview with CorpWatch managing editor Pratap Chatterjee, on his forthcoming book, "Halliburton's Army," published by Nation Books and available in books stores on February 2, 2009.

US: Halliburton Ex-Official Pleads Guilty in Bribe Case
by RUSSELL GOLDThe Wall Street Journal
September 4th, 2008
In a wide-ranging foreign-corruption investigation, fired former Halliburton Co. executive Albert J. "Jack" Stanley pleaded guilty to orchestrating more than $180 million in bribes to senior Nigerian government officials. The bribes were used to win a contract to build a liquefied-natural-gas plant in Nigeria.

US: KBR stake under attack
by Jon OrtizSacramento Bee
June 20th, 2008
Sacramento for Democracy and other groups presented CalPERS with what they said were the names of 20,000 petitioners asking the fund to shed its KBR holdings. CalPERS owns about $27 million in KBR stock.

KATRINA: Audit Faults KBR's Repairs of Hurricane Damage
by Derek KravitzThe Washington Post
June 18th, 2008
Efforts by defense contractor KBR to repair hurricane-damaged Navy facilities were deemed shoddy and substandard, and one technical adviser alleged that the federal government "certainly paid twice" for many KBR projects because of "design and workmanship deficiencies," the Pentagon's inspector general reported in an audit released yesterday.

US: Army Overseer Tells of Ouster Over KBR Stir
by James RisenNew York Times
June 17th, 2008
Charles M. Smith, the senior civilian overseeing the multibillion-dollar contract with KBR during the first two years of the war, says he was ousted for refusing to approve payment for more than $1 billion in questionable charges to KBR. The Pentagon has recently awarded KBR part of a 10-year, $150 billion contract in Iraq.

Over the Counter Intelligence
by Philip Mattera
June 13th, 2008

IRAQ: BBC uncovers lost Iraq billions
by Jane Corbin BBC News
June 10th, 2008
A BBC investigation estimates that around $23bn (£11.75bn) may have been lost, stolen or just not properly accounted for in Iraq.

IRAQ: Court revives suits against Halliburton in truckers' deaths
by  MICHAEL KUNZELMANAssociated Press
May 28th, 2008
A federal appeals court on Wednesday revived lawsuits against military contractors over a deadly ambush that killed civilian truck drivers in Iraq.

IRAQ: Controversial Contractor’s Iraq Work Is Split Up
by JAMES RISENThe New York Times
May 24th, 2008
For the first time since the war began, the largest single Pentagon contract in Iraq is being divided among three companies, ending the monopoly held by KBR, the Houston-based corporation that has been accused of wasteful spending and mismanagement and of exploiting its political ties to Vice President Dick Cheney.

NIGERIA: Ex-Halliburton unit in bribery probe
by Michael Peel in London and Matthew Green in LagosThe Financial Times
May 9th, 2008
US anti-bribery investigators are targeting a former Halliburton subsidiary over its work on a key Royal Dutch Shell project in Nigeria, widening a corruption probe into the country’s troubled oil industry.

CAYMAN ISLANDS: Top Iraq contractor skirts US taxes offshore
by Farah StockmanThe Boston Globe
March 6th, 2008
Kellogg Brown & Root, the nation's top Iraq war contractor and until last year a subsidiary of Halliburton Corp., has avoided paying hundreds of millions of dollars in federal Medicare and Social Security taxes by hiring workers through shell companies based in this tropical tax haven.

US: Inside the world of war profiteers
by David Jackson and Jason Grotto|Tribune reportersChicago Tribune
February 21st, 2008
Hundreds of pages of recently unsealed court records detail how kickbacks shaped the war's largest troop support contract months before the first wave of U.S. soldiers plunged their boots into Iraqi sand.

IRAQ: Sexual Violence: An Occupational Hazard -- In Iraq and at Home
by Marie TessierWomen's Media Center
December 26th, 2007
Jamie Leigh Jones was just 20 in 2005 when she took a leap of faith to work in Iraq for her employer, military contractor Kellogg, Brown & Root, then a subsidiary of Halliburton. She went on a mission she believed in. Shortly after her arrival in Iraq, however, Jones' ambitions were dashed in an alleged gang rape by co-workers.

US: House Panel Looking Into Charges by Former KBR Employee
by Justin RoodABC News
December 13th, 2007
A House panel is looking into charges of sexual assault made by a former Halliburton/KBR employee in Iraq.

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