The audit was ordered by the DoD after US lawmakers on 21 October made public a letter from the Iraq National Oil Company saying that it paid less to import oil from neighbouring countries than KBR, which has been purchasing oil with US government money. At the time of the allegation, KBR was charging Washington $1.59 a gallon, and was receiving a mark-up that could have boosted the price to $1.62 or $1.70, said US Senators Henry Waxman and John Dingell. In comparison, Iraq’s State Oil Marketing Organisation was paying about $0.90 and $0.98 cents a gallon. Halliburton initially responded to the allegation by saying that its prices reflected the short-term nature (30-day) of its contracts with suppliers. ‘Simple economics dictate that companies who are not bound by these guidelines, and are able to negotiate price on a long-term contract basis, can negotiate lower prices,’ said a KBR spokeswoman (MEED 22:10:03).