Failure of pipeline in northern Iraq a monument to failures of reconstruction
Published: Monday April 24, 2006
A no-bid Halliburton project in Iraq could cause nightmares for President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney after the failed project receives front page treatment in Tuesday's New York Times... The article begins by describing an Army Inspector's view of a gargantuan trench which was supposed to be a glimmering achievement in the US rebuilding of Iraq's oil infrastructure.
The project, called the Fatah pipeline crossing, had been a critical element of a $2.4-billion no-bid reconstruction contract that a Halliburton subsidiary had won from the Army in 2003. The spot where about 15 pipelines crossed the Tigris had been the main link between Iraq's rich northern oil fields and the export terminals and refineries that could generate much-needed gasoline, heating fuel, and revenue for Iraqis.
For all those reasons, the project's demise would seriously damage the American-led effort to restore Iraq's oil system and enable the country to pay for its own reconstruction. Exactly what portion of Iraq's lost oil revenue can be attributed to one failed project, no matter how critical, is impossible to calculate. But the pipeline at Al Fatah has a wider significance as a metaphor for the entire $45-billion rebuilding effort in Iraq. Although the failures of that effort are routinely attributed to insurgent attacks, an examination of this project shows that troubled decision-making and execution have played equally important roles.
The Fatah project went ahead despite warnings from experts that it could not succeed because the underground terrain was shattered and unstable. It continued chewing up astonishing amounts of cash when the predicted problems bogged the work down, with a contract that allowed crews to charge as much as $100,000 a day as they waited on standby.
FULL STORY HERE