At first, I was sort of shocked to learn that Halliburton Co. is shifting 70% of its capital investment over the next five years to the Eastern Hemisphere, which includes oil and gas zones in the Middle East, Russia, Africa, the North Sea and East Asia. But, after considering the company’s history, I soon realized it was bound to happen. As you may know, the company’s headquarters is now in Dubai. Halliburton is expanding its Mideast operations and, according to reports, the company is targeting $80 billion in new business over the next five years — 75% of which lies in the Eastern Hemisphere, mainly the Middle East. The company is also looking for Arab investors. According to an Associated Press report, Halliburton has already hired 4,800 of the 14,000 new workers it plans to bring aboard this year, many of them in the Arab world.
You may recall that in April, Halliburton completed the sell-off of its KBR construction and services unit, which was under investigation for overcharging the U.S. military in Iraq. The fact that one of the masterminds of the war in Iraq was Dick Cheney makes one wonder whether Halliburton received special treatment in obtaining U.S. war contracts. The truth is that nobody can answer that question because of all the secrecy involved in the contracts. The bosses at the company now say that with KBR gone, Halliburton has no current business in Iraq. But it was also reported Halliburton would look to partner with oil firms doing exploration in Iraq once an investment law is in place. Interestingly, in April, Halliburton also stopped work in Iran, where a Dubai-based Halliburton subsidiary operated for years. The company now says it won’t take any more Iran business. When the company’s ties to the Bush Administration end after George Bush leaves office, it will be interesting to see how Halliburton fares. The fact that Vice-President Dick Cheney was Halliburton’s previous chief executive and the fact that the company has received a tremendous number of government contracts and special treatment, might just be another coincidence, but I will never believe it.
Most American citizens don’t know that Dubai, a Persian Gulf boomtown, is home to dozens of international banks and corporations, including giant U.S. corporations like General Electric, Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, and Citibank. But, it appears most significant that Halliburton was the first major western corporation to actually move its chief executive there. While all of this is perfectly legal, somebody should have some explaining to do!
Source: Associated Press
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