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Note 14. United States Government Contract Work
We provide substantial work under our government contracts business to the United States Department of Defense and other governmental agencies, including worldwide United States Army logistics contracts, known as LogCAP, and contracts to rebuild Iraq’s petroleum industry, known as RIO and PCO Oil South. Our government services revenue related to Iraq totaled approximately $1.4 billion and $5.4 billion for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2004. Our units operating in Iraq and elsewhere under government contracts such as LogCAP, RIO, and PCO Oil South consistently review the amounts charged and the services performed under these contracts. Our operations under these contracts are also regularly reviewed and audited by the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) and other governmental agencies. The DCAA serves in an advisory role to our customer. When issues are found during the governmental agency audit process, these issues are typically discussed and reviewed with us. The DCAA will then issue an audit report with their recommendations to our customer’s contracting officer. We then will work with our customer to reach a resolution.
Fuel. In December 2003, the DCAA issued a preliminary audit report which alleged that we may have overcharged the Department of Defense by $61 million in importing fuel into Iraq. To the best of our knowledge and belief, the DCAA report was never finalized. The DCAA questioned costs associated with fuel purchases made in Kuwait that were more expensive than buying and transporting fuel from Turkey. We responded that we had maintained close coordination of the fuel mission with the Army Corps of Engineers (COE), which is our customer and oversees the project, throughout the life of the task order and that the COE had directed us to use the Kuwait sources. After a review, the COE concluded that we obtained a fair price for the fuel. However, Department of Defense officials thereafter referred the matter to the agency’s inspector general, which we understand has commenced an investigation.
The DCAA has issued various audit reports related to task orders under the RIO contract which reported $296 million in questioned and unsupported costs The majority of these costs are associated with the humanitarian fuel mission. In these reports, the DCAA has compared fuel costs we incurred during the duration of the RIO contract in 2003 and early 2004 to fuel prices obtained by the Defense Energy Supply Center (DESC) in April 2004, when the fuel mission was transferred to that agency. We believe the conditions specified by the customer for fuel purchases are materially different under the DESC and RIO contracts, and therefore a direct comparison of costs is not valid. We are currently preparing responses to the COE contracting officer, which we believe will substantiate that the costs questioned by the DCAA are allowable and reimbursable.
Dining Facility and Administration Centers (DFACs). During 2003, the DCAA raised issues relating to our invoicing to the Army Materiel Command (AMC) for food services for soldiers and supporting civilian personnel in Iraq and Kuwait. We believe the issues raised by the DCAA relate to the difference between the number of troops the AMC directed us to support and the number of soldiers actually served at dining facilities for United States troops and supporting civilian personnel in Iraq and Kuwait. In the first quarter of 2004, we reviewed our DFAC subcontracts in our Iraq and Kuwait areas of operation and have billed and continue to bill for all current DFAC costs. During 2004, we received notice from the DCAA that it was recommending withholding a portion of our DFAC billings. For DFAC billings relating to subcontracts entered into prior to February 2004, the DCAA has recommended withholding 19.35% of the billings until it completes its audits. Subsequent to February 2004, we have renegotiated our DFAC subcontracts to address the specific issues raised by the DCAA and have advised the AMC and the DCAA of the new terms of the arrangements. To date, we have had no objection by the government to these new DFAC subcontract agreements. During the third quarter of 2004, we received notification that, for three Kuwait DFACs, the DCAA is recommending to our customer that costs be disallowed because the DCAA is not satisfied with the level of documentation provided by us. The amount withheld related to suspended and recommended disallowed DFAC costs for work performed under the pre February 2004 subcontracts and totaled approximately $216 million as of September 30, 2004. The amount currently withheld could change as the DCAA continues their audits of the remaining DFAC facilities. We are negotiating with our customer, the AMC, to resolve this issue. We can withhold a proportionate amount of these billings from our subcontractors and are currently doing so. See “Investigations” section below for further discussion.
Laundry. During the third quarter of 2004, we received notice from the DCAA that it is recommending withholding $16 million of subcontract costs related to the laundry service for one task order in southern Iraq for which it believes we and our subcontractors have not provided adequate levels of documentation supporting the quantity of the services provided. The DCAA has recommended that the cost be withheld pending receipt of additional explanation or documentation to support subcontract cost. We are working with the AMC to resolve this issue.
Investigations. On January 22, 2004, we announced the identification by our internal audit function of a potential overbilling of approximately $6 million by La Nouvelle Trading & Contracting Company, W.L.L. (La Nouvelle), one of our subcontractors, under the LogCAP contract in Iraq, for services performed during 2003. In accordance with our policy and government regulation, the potential overcharge was reported to the Department of Defense Inspector General’s office as well as to our customer, the AMC. On January 23, 2004, we issued a check in the amount of $6 million to the AMC to cover that potential overbilling while we conducted our own investigation into the matter. Later in the first quarter of 2004, we determined that the amount of overbilling was $4 million and the subcontractor billing should have been $2 million for the services provided. As a result, we paid La Nouvelle $2 million and have billed our customer that amount. We are continuing to investigate whether La Nouvelle paid, or attempted to pay, one or two of our former employees in connection with the billing. See Note 15 “Litigation brought by La Nouvelle” for further discussion.
In October 2004, we reported to the Department of Defense Inspector General's office that two former employees in Kuwait may have had inappropriate contacts with individuals employed by or affiliated with two third-party subcontractors prior to the award of the subcontracts. The Inspector General’s office may investigate whether these two employees may have solicited and/or accepted payments from these third-party subcontractors while they were employed by us.
In October 2004, a civilian contracting official in the COE asked for a review of the process used by the COE for awarding some of the contracts to us. We understand that the Department of Defense Inspector General’s office may review the issues involved.
We understand that the United States Department of Justice, an Assistant United States Attorney based in Illinois, and others are investigating some matters relating to our government contract work. We also understand that former employees of KBR have received subpoenas and have given or may give grand jury testimony relating to some of these matters. If criminal wrongdoing were found, criminal penalties could range up to the greater of $500,000 in fines per count for a corporation, or twice the gross pecuniary gain or loss.
Withholding of payments. During 2004, the AMC issued a determination that a particular contract clause would cause it to withhold 15% from our invoices until our task orders under the LogCAP contract are definitized. We have advised the AMC that we disagree with this interpretation. The AMC has not implemented this withholding; however, it has requested additional information regarding the impact of the potential withholding on us and our subcontractors’ ability to provide troop support under the LogCAP contract. We have provided information in response to this request, but do not know whether or how this information will impact the AMC’s decision to implement the 15% withholding in the future. We do not believe the potential 15% withholding will have a significant or sustained impact on our liquidity because the withholding is temporary and ends once the definitization process is complete. During the third quarter of 2004, we and the AMC identified three senior management teams to facilitate negotiation under the LogCAP task orders, and these teams are working to negotiate outstanding issues and definitize task orders as quickly possible. We are continuing to work with our customer to resolve outstanding issues. To date, definitization proposals for 30 task orders totaling over $500 million have been agreed in principle.
As of September 30, 2004, the COE had withheld $76 million of our invoices related to a portion of our RIO contract pending completion of the definitization process. All ten definitization proposals required under this contract have been submitted by us and three have been agreed in principle. The remaining seven have been reviewed by the DCAA, and we are in the process of responding to our customer on the auditor’s questions. These withholdings represent the amount invoiced in excess of 85% of the amounts we have currently estimated to the COE to complete the tasks ordered. The COE also could withhold similar amounts from future invoices under our RIO contract until our task orders under the RIO contract are definitized. Approximately $4 million was withheld from our PCO Oil South project as of September 30, 2004. We do not believe the withholding will have a significant or sustained impact on our liquidity because the withholding is temporary and ends once the definitization process is complete.
We are working diligently with our customers to proceed with significant work when we have a fully definitized task order, which should limit withholdings on future task orders.
Report on estimating system. The DCAA issued an audit report to our corporate administrative contracting officer (CACO) dated August 4, 2004 stating that, in the DCAA’s opinion, our estimating system is not adequate to produce proposals for our customer to negotiate final pricing on government contracts. The report states that the DCAA has identified approximately $1.8 billion in unsupported costs relating to proposals under our LogCAP contracts. An unsupported cost in an estimate is one in which the DCAA requires additional documentation before expressing an opinion on the acceptability of the estimate. While the alleged $1.8 billion in unsupported costs referenced in the DCAA report represents estimated costs rather than incurred and/or billed costs and the DCAA is not recommending that such amounts be withheld, the untimely resolution of unsupported cost issues could affect the definitization process. In October 2004, we developed a corrective action plan with the CACO and DCAA and believe we will be able to demonstrate that our estimating system is adequate for negotiating with our customer and that we have appropriate support for our proposals. Should the estimating system ultimately be judged inadequate, all proposals over $100,000 would be required to be reviewed by the DCAA. Currently, all of our proposals over $500,000 must be reviewed.
Report on purchasing system. As a result of a Contractor Purchasing System Review by the Defense Contract Management Agency (DCMA) during the second quarter of 2004, the DCMA granted the continued approval of our government contract purchasing system. The review was conducted due to the unprecedented level of support we currently provide the military in Iraq and Kuwait. The DCMA’s approval letter, dated September 7, 2004, stated that our purchasing system’s policies and practices are “effective and efficient, and provide adequate protection of the Government’s interest.”
The Balkans. We have had inquiries in the past by the DCAA and the civil fraud division of the United States Department of Justice into possible overcharges for work performed during 1996 through 2000 under a contract in the Balkans, which inquiry has not yet been completed by the Department of Justice. Based on an internal investigation, we credited our customer approximately $2 million during 2000 and 2001 related to our work in the Balkans as a result of billings for which support was not readily available. We believe that the preliminary Department of Justice inquiry relates to potential overcharges in connection with a part of the Balkans contract under which approximately $100 million in work was done. We believe that any allegations of overcharges would be without merit.
Note 15. Other Commitments and Contingencies
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation of change in accounting for revenue on long-term construction projects and related disclosures. In August 2004, we reached a settlement in the investigation by the SEC involving our 1998 and 1999 disclosure of and accounting for the recognition of revenue from unapproved claims on long-term construction projects. Our settlement with the SEC covers a failure to disclose a 1998 change in accounting practice. We disclosed the change in accounting practice in our 1999 Form 10-K and continued to do so in subsequent periods. The SEC did not determine that we departed from generally accepted accounting principles, nor did it find errors in accounting or fraud. We neither admitted nor denied the SEC’s findings, but paid a $7.5 million civil penalty, and recorded a charge of that amount in the second quarter of 2004. As part of the settlement, the company agreed to cease and desist from committing or causing future securities law violations.
Securities and related litigation. On June 3, 2002, a class action lawsuit was filed against us in federal court on behalf of purchasers of our common stock during the period of approximately May 1998 until approximately May 2002 alleging violations of the federal securities laws in connection with the accounting change and disclosures involved in the SEC investigation discussed above. In addition, the plaintiffs allege that we overstated our revenue from unapproved claims by recognizing amounts not reasonably estimable or probable of collection. After that date, approximately twenty similar class actions were filed against us. Several of those lawsuits also named as defendants Arthur Andersen, LLP, our independent accountants for the period covered by the lawsuits, and several of our present or former officers and directors. The class action cases were later consolidated and the amended consolidated class action complaint, styled Richard Moore, et al. v. Halliburton Company, et al.,, was filed and served upon us on or about April 11, 2003 (the “Moore class action”). Subsequently, in October 2002 and March 2003, two derivative actions arising out of essentially the same facts and circumstances were filed, one of which was subsequently dismissed, while the other was transferred to the same judge before whom the Moore class action was pending.
In early May 2003, we announced that we had entered into a written memorandum of understanding setting forth the terms upon which both the Moore class action and the remaining derivative action would be settled. In June 2003, the lead plaintiffs in the Moore class action filed a motion for leave to file a second amended consolidated complaint, which was granted by the court. In addition to restating the original accounting and disclosure claims, the second amended consolidated complaint includes claims arising out of the 1998 acquisition of Dresser Industries, Inc. by Halliburton, including that we failed to timely disclose the resulting asbestos liability exposure (the “Dresser claims”). The Dresser claims were included in the settlement discussions leading up to the signing of the memorandum of understanding and are among the claims the parties intended to be resolved by the terms of the proposed settlement of the consolidated Moore class action and the derivative action.
The memorandum of understanding called for Halliburton to pay $6 million, which would be funded by insurance proceeds. After the May 2003 announcement regarding the memorandum of understanding, one of the lead plaintiffs in the consolidated class action announced that it was dissatisfied with the lead plaintiffs’ counsel’s handling of settlement negotiations and what the dissident plaintiff regarded as inadequate communications by the lead plaintiffs’ counsel. The dissident lead plaintiff further asserted that it believes that, for various reasons, the $6 million settlement amount is inadequate.
The attorneys representing the dissident plaintiff filed another class action complaint in August 2003, raising allegations similar to those raised in the second amended consolidated complaint regarding the accounting/disclosure claims and the Dresser claims. In addition, the complaint enhances the Dresser claims to include allegations related to our accounting with respect to the acquisition, integration and reserves of Dresser. We moved to dismiss that complaint, styled Kimble v. Halliburton Company, et al.; however, the court never ruled on our motion and ordered the case consolidated with the Moore class action. On August 3, 2004 the attorneys representing the dissident plaintiff filed a motion for leave to file yet another class action complaint styled Murphey v. Halliburton Company, et al. The court has not ruled on that motion. The proposed complaint raises and augments allegations similar to those in the Moore class action and the Kimble action, including additional allegations regarding disclosure of asbestos liability exposure.
On June 7, 2004, the court entered an order preliminarily approving the settlement. Following the transfer of the case(s) to another district judge and a final hearing on the fairness of the settlement, on September 9, 2004, the court entered an order denying the motion for final approval of the settlement in the Moore class action and ordering the parties, among other things, to mediate. The mediation is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2005. After the court’s denial of the motion to approve the settlement, we withdrew from the settlement as we believe we are entitled to do by its terms (although the settling plaintiffs assert otherwise).
On September 9, 2004, the court ordered that if no objections to the settlement of the derivative action described above were made by October 20, 2004, the court would finally approve the derivative action settlement. No timely objections were made to the settlement of the derivative action.
BJ Services Company patent litigation. On April 12, 2002, a federal court jury in Houston, Texas, returned a verdict against Halliburton Energy Services, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary, in a patent infringement lawsuit brought by BJ Services Company. In January 2004, we filed a petition requesting that the United States Supreme Court review and reverse the judgment, which was denied in April 2004. In April 2004, we paid the $107 million judgment amount, including pre- and post-judgment interest.
Anglo-Dutch (Tenge). On October 24, 2003, a Texas district court jury returned a verdict finding a subsidiary of Halliburton liable to Anglo-Dutch (Tenge) L.L.C. and Anglo-Dutch Petroleum International, Inc. for breaching a confidentiality agreement related to an investment opportunity we considered in the late 1990s in an oilfield in the former Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan. On January 20, 2004, the judge in that case entered judgment against us and our codefendants, Ramco Oil & Gas, Ltd. and Ramco Energy, PLC (collectively, Ramco), jointly and severally, for the total sum of $106 million. A charge in the amount of $77 million was recorded in the third quarter of 2003 related to this matter. In April 2004, we reached a settlement with the plaintiffs and made all payments to the plaintiffs pursuant to the settlement agreement. As a result of the settlement, the judgment entered against us has been vacated and the litigation dismissed. The settlement also provided Halliburton total indemnity for contribution claims, if any, of Ramco against Halliburton. After consideration of the settlement and legal costs, we reversed approximately $13 million of our remaining accrual in the first quarter of 2004. In the second quarter of 2004, we recovered the $25 million cash that we posted in lieu of a bond related to this matter, which was included in restricted cash as of December 31, 2003.
Newmont Gold. In July 1998, Newmont Gold, a gold mining and extraction company, filed a lawsuit over the failure of a blower manufactured and supplied to Newmont by Roots, a former division of Dresser Equipment Group. The plaintiff alleges that during the manufacturing process, Roots had reversed the blades on a component of the blower known as the inlet guide vane assembly, resulting in the blower’s failure and the shutdown of the gold extraction mill for a period of approximately one month during 1996. In January 2002, a Nevada trial court granted summary judgment to Roots on all counts and Newmont appealed. In February 2004, the Nevada Supreme Court reversed the summary judgment and remanded the case to the trial court, holding that fact issues existed which would require trial. We believe our exposure is no more than $40 million. We believe that we have valid defenses to Newmont’s claims and intend to vigorously defend the matter. As of September 30, 2004, we had not accrued any amounts related to this matter.
Smith International award. In June 2004, a Texas district court jury returned a verdict in our favor in connection with a patent infringement lawsuit we filed against Smith International (Smith). We were awarded $24 million in damages by the jury. We filed the lawsuit in September 2002 seeking damages for Smith’s infringement of our patented Energy Balanced ™ roller cone drill bit technology. The jury found that Smith’s competing bits willfully infringed three of our patents. Under applicable law the judge has the discretion to enhance the damages to a total amount of up to three times the amount awarded by the jury and to award attorney’s fees and costs. Subsequent to the verdict, upon our motion, the court enhanced the jury verdict by $12 million and added another $5 million in attorneys’ fees and costs for a total judgment of $41 million. Unless pending motions for judgment as a matter of law are granted, Smith is expected to appeal.
Related litigation dealing with claims of infringement of the same technology is pending in courts in Italy and England and expected to go to trial during 2005.
Improper payments reported to the SEC. During the second quarter of 2002, we reported to the SEC that one of our foreign subsidiaries operating in Nigeria made improper payments of approximately $2.4 million to entities owned by a Nigerian national who held himself out as a tax consultant, when in fact he was an employee of a local tax authority. The payments were made to obtain favorable tax treatment and clearly violated our Code of Business Conduct and our internal control procedures. The payments were discovered during our audit of the foreign subsidiary. We conducted an investigation assisted by outside legal counsel and, based on the findings of the investigation, we terminated several employees. None of our senior officers were involved. We are cooperating with the SEC in its review of the matter. We took further action to ensure that our foreign subsidiary paid all taxes owed in Nigeria. A preliminary assessment of approximately $4 million was issued by the Nigerian tax authorities in the second quarter of 2003. We are cooperating with the Nigerian tax authorities to determine the total amount due as quickly as possible.
Investigation into Nigerian joint venture and related matters. The SEC is conducting a formal investigation into payments made in connection with the construction and subsequent expansion by TSKJ of a multibillion dollar natural gas liquefaction complex and related facilities at Bonny Island in Rivers State, Nigeria. The United States Department of Justice is also conducting an investigation. TSKJ is a private limited liability company registered in Madeira, Portugal whose members are Technip SA of France, Snamprogetti Netherlands B.V., which is an affiliate of ENI SpA of Italy, JGC Corporation of Japan, and Kellogg Brown & Root, each of which owns 25% of the venture.
The SEC and the Department of Justice have been reviewing these matters in light of the requirements of the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. We have produced documents to the SEC both voluntarily and pursuant to a subpoena, and intend to make our employees available to the SEC for testimony. In addition, we understand that the SEC has issued a subpoena to A. Jack Stanley, who most recently served as a consultant and chairman of Kellogg Brown & Root, and to other current and former Kellogg Brown & Root employees. We further understand that the Department of Justice has invoked its authority under a sitting grand jury to obtain letters rogatory for the purpose of obtaining information abroad.
TSKJ and other similarly owned entities entered into various contracts to build and expand the liquefied natural gas project for Nigeria LNG Limited, which is owned by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Shell Gas B.V., Cleag Limited (an affiliate of Total), and Agip International B.V. Commencing in 1995, TSKJ entered into a series of agency agreements in connection with the Nigerian project. We understand that a French magistrate has officially placed Jeffrey Tesler, an agent of TSKJ, under investigation for corruption of a foreign public official. In Nigeria, a legislative committee of the National Assembly and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, which is organized as part of the executive branch of the government, are also investigating these matters. Our representatives have met with the French magistrate and Nigerian officials and expressed our willingness to cooperate with those investigations. In October 2004, representatives of TSKJ voluntarily testified before the Nigerian legislative committee.
As a result of our continuing investigation into these matters, information has been uncovered suggesting that, commencing at least 10 years ago, the members of TSKJ considered payments to Nigerian officials. We provided this information to the United States Department of Justice, the SEC, the French magistrate, and the Nigerian Economics and Financial Crimes Commission. We also notified the other owners of TSKJ of the recently uncovered information and asked each of them to conduct their own investigation.
We understand from the ongoing governmental and other investigations that payments may have been made to Nigerian officials. In addition, we understand that, at our request, TSKJ has suspended the receipt of services from and payments to TSKJ’s agent, Tri-Star Investments, of which Jeffrey Tesler is a principal, and is considering instituting legal proceedings to declare all agency agreements with Tri-Star terminated and to recover all amounts previously paid under those agreements.
We understand that the Department of Justice has expanded its investigation to include whether Mr. Stanley may have received payments in connection with bidding practices on certain foreign projects. We also understand that the matters under investigation by the Department of Justice involve parties other than Kellogg Brown & Root and M.W. Kellogg, a joint venture in which Kellogg Brown & Root has a 55% interest, cover an extended period of time, in some cases significantly before our acquisition of Dresser Industries, including M. W. Kellogg in 1998, and possibly include the construction of a fertilizer plant in Nigeria in the early 1990’s and the activities of agents and service providers.
In June 2004, we terminated all relationships with Mr. Stanley and another consultant and former employee of M.W. Kellogg. The terminations occurred because of violations of our Code of Business Conduct that allegedly involve the receipt of improper personal benefits in connection with TSKJ’s construction of the natural gas liquefaction facility in Nigeria.
There can be no assurance that any governmental investigation or our investigation of these matters will not conclude that violations of applicable laws have occurred.
As of September 30, 2004, we had not accrued any amounts related to these investigations.
Operations in Iran. We received and responded to an inquiry in mid-2001 from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Treasury Department with respect to operations in Iran by a Halliburton subsidiary that is incorporated in the Cayman Islands. The OFAC inquiry requested information with respect to compliance with the Iranian Transaction Regulations. These regulations prohibit United States citizens, including United States corporations and other United States business organizations, from engaging in commercial, financial, or trade transactions with Iran, unless authorized by OFAC or exempted by statute. Our 2001 written response to OFAC stated that we believed that we were in full compliance with applicable sanction regulations. In January 2004, we received a follow-up letter from OFAC requesting additional information. We responded fully to this request on March 19, 2004. We understand this matter has now been referred by OFAC to the Department of Justice. In July 2004, we received a grand jury subpoena from an Assistant United States District Attorney requesting the production of documents. We are cooperating with the government’s investigation and have responded to the subpoena by producing documents on September 16, 2004. As of September 30, 2004, we had not accrued any amounts related to this investigation.
Separate from the OFAC inquiry, we completed a study in 2003 of our activities in Iran during 2002 and 2003 and concluded that these activities were in full compliance with applicable sanction regulations. These sanction regulations require isolation of entities that conduct activities in Iran from contact with United States citizens or managers of United States companies.
Litigation brought by La Nouvelle. In October 2004, La Nouvelle, a subcontractor to us in connection with our government services work in Kuwait and Iraq, filed suit alleging breach of contract and interference with contractual and business relations. The relief sought includes $224 million in damages for breach of contract, which includes $34 million for tortious interference, and an unspecified sum for consequential and punitive damages. The dispute arises from our termination of a master agreement pursuant to which La Nouvelle operated a number of DFACs in Kuwait and Iraq and the replacement of La Nouvelle with ESS which, prior to La Nouvelle’s termination, had served as La Nouvelle’s subcontractor. In addition, La Nouvelle alleges that we wrongfully withheld from La Nouvelle certain sums due La Nouvelle under its various subcontracts.
While we admit that we have withheld certain sums from La Nouvelle, we believe that we were contractually entitled to do so and that we had the right to terminate the master agreement with La Nouvelle for cause. The case has only recently been filed and our investigation is in its preliminary stages. Accordingly, it is premature to assess the likelihood of an unfavorable result. It is, however, our intention to vigorously defend the action.
David Hudak and International Hydrocut Technologies Corp. On October 12, 2004 David Hudak and International Hydrocut Technologies Corp. (collectively Hudak), filed suit against us in the United States District Court alleging civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act violations, fraud, breach of contract, unfair trade practices, and other torts. The action, which seeks unspecified damages, arises out of Hudak’s alleged purchase in early 1994 of certain explosive charges which were later alleged by the United States Department of Justice to be military ordnance, the possession of which by persons not possessing the requisite licenses and registrations is unlawful. As a result of that allegation by the government, Hudak was charged with, but later acquitted of, certain criminal offenses in connection with his possession of the explosive charges. As mentioned above, the alleged transaction(s) took place more than ten years ago. The fact that most of the individuals that may have been involved, as well as the entities themselves, are no longer affiliated with us, will complicate our investigation. For those reasons and because the litigation is in its most preliminary stages, it is premature to assess the likelihood of an adverse result. It is, however, our intention to vigorously defend this action. As of September 30, 2004, we had not accrued any amounts related to this matter.
Environmental. We are subject to numerous environmental, legal, and regulatory requirements related to our operations worldwide. In the United States, these laws and regulations include, among others:
- the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act;
- the Resources Conservation and Recovery Act;
- the Clean Air Act;
- the Federal Water Pollution Control Act; and
- the Toxic Substances Control Act.
In addition to the federal laws and regulations, states and other countries where we do business may have numerous environmental, legal, and regulatory requirements by which we must abide. We evaluate and address the environmental impact of our operations by assessing and remediating contaminated properties in order to avoid future liabilities and comply with environmental, legal, and regulatory requirements. On occasion, we are involved in specific environmental litigation and claims, including the remediation of properties we own or have operated, as well as efforts to meet or correct compliance-related matters. Our Health, Safety and Environment group has several programs in place to maintain environmental leadership and to prevent the occurrence of environmental contamination.
We do not expect costs related to these remediation requirements to have a material adverse effect on our consolidated financial position or our results of operations. Our accrued liabilities for environmental matters were $38 million as of September 30, 2004 and $31 million as of December 31, 2003. The liability covers numerous properties and no individual property accounts for more than $5 million of the liability balance. In some instances, we have been named a potentially responsible party by a regulatory agency, but in each of those cases, we do not believe we have any material liability. We have subsidiaries that have been named as potentially responsible parties along with other third parties for 14 federal and state superfund sites for which we have established a liability. As of September 30, 2004, those 14 sites accounted for approximately $10 million of our total $38 million liability.
Letters of credit. In the normal course of business, we have agreements with banks under which approximately $1.1 billion of letters of credit or bank guarantees were outstanding as of September 30, 2004, including $191 million which relate to our joint ventures’ operations.
In the fourth quarter of 2003, we entered into a senior secured master letter of credit facility (Master LC Facility) with a syndicate of banks which covered at least 90% of the face amount of our then existing letters of credit. The Master LC Facility became effective in December 2003. Each bank has permanently waived any right that it had to demand cash collateral as a result of the filing of Chapter 11 proceedings by certain of our subsidiaries. In addition, at the discretion of the banks involved, the Master LC Facility provides for the issuance of new letters of credit, so long as the total facility does not exceed an amount equal to the amount of outstanding letters of credit at closing plus $250 million, or approximately $1.5 billion.
The purpose of the Master LC Facility is to provide an advance for letter of credit draws, if any, and to satisfy any cash collateralization rights of issuers of substantially all our then existing letters of credit during the pendency of the Chapter 11 proceedings of eight of our subsidiaries. In May 2004, we extended the Master LC Facility, and advances under the Master LC Facility will now remain available until the earlier of December 31, 2004 or when an order confirming the proposed plan of reorganization becomes final and nonappealable. At that time, all advances outstanding under the Master LC Facility, if any, will become term loans payable in full on June 30, 2005 and all other letters of credit shall cease to be subject to the terms of the Master LC Facility. If our subsidiaries do not exit Chapter 11 proceedings until after December 31, 2004, we would expect to be able to extend the availability of the Master LC Facility. As of September 30, 2004 and December 31, 2003, there were no outstanding advances under the Master LC Facility.
We currently have commitments to fund approximately $55 million to certain of our related companies. These commitments arose primarily during the start-up of these entities or due to losses incurred by them. We expect approximately $46 million of the commitments to be paid during the next year.
Liquidated damages. Many of our engineering and construction contracts have milestone due dates that must be met or we may be subject to penalties for liquidated damages if claims are asserted and we were responsible for the delays. These generally relate to specified activities within a project by a set contractual date or achievement of a specified level of output or throughput of a plant we construct. Each contract defines the conditions under which a customer may make a claim for liquidated damages. In most instances, liquidated damages are not asserted by the customer but the potential to do so is used in negotiating claims and closing out the contract. We had not accrued liabilities for $46 million at September 30, 2004 and $243 million at December 31, 2003 of liquidated damages we could incur based upon completing the projects as forecasted. If the October 2004 agreement in principle between Kellogg Brown & Root and Barracuda and Caratinga Leasing Company B.V. were not finalized, based on September 2004 project forecasts, Kellogg Brown & Root could be subject to an additional approximately $141 million in liquidated damages beyond the estimated $24 million of liquidated damages recorded as of September 30, 2004 in the event that the delay in the project is determined to be attributable to us. There can be no assurance that further project delays will not occur.
Other. We are a party to various other legal proceedings. We expense the cost of legal fees as incurred related to these proceedings. We believe any liabilities we may have arising from these proceedings will not be material to our consolidated financial position or results of operations.