$6bn LNG Deal: KBR, Halliburton Admit Bribing Nigerian Officials

Kellogg Brown & Root LLC pleaded guilty to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act as it sought contracts for a Nigerian LNG project, the US Department of Justice said on Monday. KBR and its former parent, Halliburton Co., also settled US Securities and Exchange Commission charges that they allegedly bribed Nigerian government officials for over 10 years to obtain contracts valued at more than $6 billon to build LNG facilities at Bonny Island, Nigeria, the SEC said in a separate announcement.

KBR entered guilty pleas to a five-count criminal information in federal court in Houston and agreed to pay a $402 million criminal fine, DOJ said. It said that according to court documents, KBR’s predecessor entities, Kellogg Brown & Root Inc. and the MW Kellogg Co., were part of a four-company joint venture that received the contracts from Nigerian LNG Ltd. during 1995-2004. Government-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) was the largest shareholder of the consortium, with a 49 per cent interest, DOJ said.

Oil and Gas journal reports that KBR pleaded guilty to conspiring with its joint-venture partners and others to violate the FCPA by authorising, promising, and paying bribes to a range of Nigerian government officials, including officials of the executive branch of the Nigerian government, NNPC and NLNG officials, to obtain the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts.

KBR also pleaded guilty to four counts of violating the FCPA related to the joint venture’s payment of tens of millions of dollars in “consulting fees” to two agents for use in bribing Nigerian government officials. DOJ said that KBR admitted that, at crucial junctures before the EPC awards, KBR’s former Chief Executive, Albert (Jack) Stanley, and others met with three successive former holders of a top-level office in the Nigerian government’s executive branch to ask the office holder to designate a representative with whom the joint venture should negotiate bribes to Nigerian government officials. Stanley and others negotiated bribe amounts with the office holders’ representatives and agreed to hire the two agents to pay the bribes, the charges said.