KBR will act as the prime contractor to the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), which has been designated the US government’s executive agent for extinguishing oil well fires and assessing the condition of Iraq’s oil facilities during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

‘The USACE will perform a variety of activities, including extinguishing oil well fires and assessing damage to oil facilities, and is prepared to clean up oil spills or other environmental damage at oil facilities,’ said the DoD. ‘It also will perform engineering design and repair or reconstruction of damaged infrastructure, operate facilities and distribute products, if required.’

The contractor will also be required to carry out emergency repairs as directed by the US government and ‘provide for the continuity of operations of the Iraqi oil infrastructure’.

KBR will be employed on an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (ID/IQ), cost plus basis. Its first task will be to carry out a hazard and operational assessment, extinguish oil well fires, cap well blowouts and deal with any oil spills. Under the terms of the contract, KBR has to have all well fires extinguished within 240 days.

The firm has already subcontracted the fire fighting portion of the work to Houston-based companies Boots & Coots International Well Controland Wild Well Control. KBR has shipped nine cargo plane loads of equipment to the region.

KBR claims it had been selected because ‘it was the only contractor that could commence implementing the complex contingency plan on extremely short notice’. It also said the contract would cover an unspecified interim period until the USACE procured additional contracts to provide ‘a broad range of services required to support full execution of the contingency plan’.

A spokesman said USACE would not know the number and scope of these contracts until the assessment of Iraq’s oil infrastructure had been carried out. He confirmed there would be a new contract for a permanent prime contractor, which would go out to open competition.

KBR said it would work with its sister company Halliburton Energy Services Groupon oil well services and engineering planning efforts. KBR is the engineering and construction division of the giant US oil services company Halliburton(see Cover Story).