The World According to Bechtel

There are well-connected companies. Then there's Bechtel.

Standard Oil Company of California and ARAMCOoil companies contracted with Bechtel to build the 850-mile Trans-Arabian pipeline in the 1940s.

U.S. Agency for International Development awarded Bechtel a $680 million contract in April to rebuild infrastructure in Iraq following a closed bid among five companies.

Bechtel employeeswere taken hostage in 1990, while working on a refinery for the Iraqi government.

Donald Rumsfeld, now secretary of defense, went to the Middle East as a special envoy in 1983. While there, he lobbied Saddam Hussein for a proposed Bechtel-built pipeline linking Iraqi oil wells to the port of Aqaba, Jordan.

William H. Draper III, then-chairman of the Export-Import Bank, and the bank's board approved a preliminary commitment to guarantee loans for the pipeline project. The deal eventually fell through.

Hong Kong

Bechtel completed a $20 billion project in 1998, building Hong Kong International Airport on the island of Chek Lap Kok and connecting it to Hong Kong population centers through rail lines. At the time, it was the world's largest infrastructure project; started before and continued after the British returned Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China.


In 1993, Bechtel completed a $1.3 billion natural-gas pipeline from the Idaho-Canada border to Fresno for a PG&E subsidiary.

Bechtel Hanford Inc., a Bechtel subsidiary, is the U.S. Department of Energy's primary contractor for the cleanup of the Hanford nuclear waste site. Bechtel holds a contract to design and build treatment plants to convert radioactive waste into stable glass. The $5.7 billion project is likely to continue for the next decade.

Riley Bechtelsits on the board of directors with:

William H. Gray III, former U.S. representative (1979-1991).

Frank Bennack Jr., chairman of the executive committee and vice chairman of the board of the Hearst Corp., owner of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Lee R. Raymond, chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil Corp.

Helen Kaplan, director of Exxon Mobil Corp.

H. Laurance Fuller, co-chairman of BP Amoco plc.

Bechtel v. Bolivia, a $25 million lawsuit, is pending in a World Bank court. Bechtel left its water system project in Cochabamba, Bolivia, after mass riots erupted over a rise in water prices. Bechtel was to improve and operate the water system there.

Immediately following the Persian Gulf War, Bechtel was the lead contractor to extinguish oil fires ordered set by Saddam Hussein and to rebuild the oil refining infrastructure.

United Kingdom

Rail Link Engineering -- a joint venture among Bechtel, Ove Arup, Sir William Halcrow and Partners Limited, and Systra corporations to manage, design, and construct a $7.8 billion high-speed rail line from London to the Channel Tunnel.

London & Continental Railways Limited -- owner and operator of Eurostar Ltd., the U.K. arm of Eurostar train service, includes Bechtel as a major shareholder.

Tube Lines -- public-private partnership in which Bechtel is upgrading infrastructure and will operate three historic lines of the London underground.

Bechtel completed the $14 billion Channel Tunnel connecting England and France in 1994.

The Big Dig

Central Artery -- Bechtel is under investigation for cost overruns on this massive highway expansion and tunneling project in Boston.

Fremont Group LLC**

Alan Dachs -- president and CEO; director, Bechtel Group Inc.; brother-in-law of Riley Bechtel.

Stephen Bechtel Jr. -- director; director and chairman emeritus, Bechtel Group Inc.

Riley Bechtel -- director; chairman and CEO, Bechtel Group Inc.

George Shultz -- director; director and former president, Bechtel Group Inc.; director, Gilead Sciences Inc.; director, Charles Schwab & Co. Inc.; former secretary of state (1982-1989).

Cordell Hull -- director; former chairman, Bechtel Enterprises Inc.

Harold Haynes -- director; director, Bechtel Group Inc.; former chairman and CEO, Standard Oil of California.

Richard Cavanagh -- director; former chairman and CEO, the Conference Board Inc.

*Bechtel was the majority owner of the former investment house of Dillon, Read & Co. Inc.

**The Fremont Group LLC investment firm is primarily owned and controlled by the Bechtel family and executives.

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