Texas company Halliburton, which has seven workers missing in Iraq, is the U.S. military's biggest contractor there, responsibe for everything from preparing meals for U.S. troops to repairing Iraq's oil infrastructure.
The human price has been steep. The company says about 30 of its staff and sub-contractors for subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root have been killed in Iraq, many of them doing work the military used to do itself but now outsources.
Seven KBR workers have been missing since Friday after their convoy was attacked. Their fate is unknown although one hostage, a Mississippi farmer who went to Iraq for KBR, has appeared on television networks with his captors.
"Daily, they risk their personal security to serve the troops and deliver much-needed services to the Iraqi people," said Halliburton spokeswoman Wendy Hall of KBR's work in Iraq and sacrifices made by employees.
The company said on Monday it had more than 24,000 employees and subcontracted workers in the Kuwait-Iraq region working under government contracts that U.S. officials estimate could eventually total nearly $18 billion.
Vice President Dick Cheney was Halliburton's CEO from 1995 until he joined George W. Bush's presidential ticket in 2000.
Truck drivers employed by the company have been targets for attack and at any given time, Halliburton said it had more than 700 trucks on Kuwaiti and Iraqi roads and drivers logged roughly 3.3 million miles (5.3 million km) a month.
Listing its successes since it entered Baghdad on April 20, 2003, KBR said it had built 64 dining facilities and served more than 40 million meals to U.S. troops.
It says it has done more than a million bundles of laundry, collected over 1.5 million cubic meters of trash and delivered more than 8 million bags of mail.
The company has been a lightning rod for criticism during this presidential election year amid allegations it received lucrative contracts because of its ties to the White House.
The company strongly denies it obtained favorable treatment and has run an ad campaign to counter negative publicity.
The bulk of KBR's business is under a logistics deal with the U.S. Army that KBR signed in December, 2001, covering tasks from delivering mail and doing laundry for U.S. troops to building barracks and catering.
Called LOGCAP, the 10-year contract requires Halliburton to deploy within 72 hours of notice and deliver logistical support for 25,000 troops within 15 days.
Under a separate, no-bid contract handed out by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in March 2003 to rebuild Iraq's oil industry, the company has been promised about $2.5 billion.
The March 2003 deal for oil infrastructure was replaced in January by two contracts worth $2 billion, of which KBR won $1.2 billion to repair Iraq's oil infrastructure in the south.
Most of the March 2003 deal has gone into bringing in fuel for civilians in Iraq, which despite being oil-rich has a shortage of refined products.
Amid concern over high costs, military investigators are looking into prices paid for fuel and auditors are examining how much KBR charged for meals served to U.S. troops.
In another contract announced in January, which will cover operations in Iraq and 24 other countries, KBR got a construction and engineering contract with a ceiling value of $1.5 billion by the Corps of Engineers.
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