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For the German company, see Bechtle.
Bechtel Corporation
Type Privately held company
Industry Heavy construction
Project Management
Founded 1898
Founders Warren A. Bechtel
Headquarters Blue Shield of California Building
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Area served Worldwide
Key people Riley P. Bechtel, Chairman
Brendan Bechtel, President and COO
Bill Dudley, CEO
Products Construction contracting
Revenue Increase US$39.4 billion (2013)[1]
Owners Bechtel family and various internally elected employees
Employees 53,000 (2013)[1]

Bechtel Corporation (Bechtel Group) is the largest construction and engineering company in the United States,[2] ranking as the 4th-largest privately owned company in the United States.[3] Its headquarters are in the South of Market, San Francisco.[4]


Bechtel has always functioned as a family-owned company. Its founder, Warren A. Bechtel, started as an employee of the burgeoning United States railroad industry in 1898 after his Oklahoma cattle ranch failed. Over the next 20 years, he built up a sizable contracting business that specialized in railroad and highway building.[5] After building the Hoover Dam in the 1930s, the company was a major contractor during World War II building Liberty ships under the leadership of Stephen David Bechtel, Sr., the founder's son.[5] After the War the Company continued to expand in the energy sector completing projects such as the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System in the 1970s when George Shultz was CEO.[5]

Locations and operational activities[edit]

Bechtel's major operational locations are in Brisbane,[6] Calgary,[7] Dubai,[8][9] Frederick, Maryland,[10] Houston,[11] London,[12] Montreal,[13] New Delhi,[14] Reston, Virginia,[15] San Francisco,[16] Santiago,[17] Shanghai, Taipei,[18] and Washington, D.C.[19]

The company's main headquarters are located at its San Francisco office,[15] while the Reston office houses the company's global operational headquarters, as well as the headquarters of U.S. Government Services and U.S. Civil Infrastructure units.[10][15] The Power business unit is based at its Frederick office.[10] The company's Oil, Gas & Chemicals unit is based in the Houston office.[20] The Washington office maintains both a Political Action Committee and a lobbying program.[21]

Outside the U.S., the Civil unit’s headquarters is located at the company’s London office.[17] The Mining & Metals unit is headquartered at the company’s Brisbane office[22] and also maintains operations in Santiago, Montreal, and Dubai.[8][13][23] Both the Calgary and New Delhi offices are major locations.[7] In 2013, the company established its global center of engineering excellence in Dubai focusing on rail and marine projects.[9][24]

Bechtel works on megaprojects through its five business units.[25] The company frequently manages work from design through construction phases.[26][27][28] Its corporate values include safety, quality, and ethics.[16][28][29]

Civil Infrastructure[edit]

The Civil Infrastructure unit handles infrastructure, highways and bridges, rail, ports, and aviation projects, as well as hydroelectric facilities.[30] It has built more than 17,000 miles of roadway as well as 20 towns and cities globally.[25] It has worked on 80 port and harbor projects, and 90 major airport projects.[31][32]

As of February 2014, the unit is also developing the general plan for the Waad Al-Shamal city, an industrial complex built around a phosphate mine near Turaif, Saudi Arabia. It is also project managing the build, which is planned to include housing, businesses, and schools.[33][34]

Bechtel's Civil unit is leading a consortium in the engineering, procurement and construction of the lines One and Two of the Riyadh, Saudi Arabia metro, which began construction in April 2014.[35][36] In March 2014, it was announced Bechtel is part of a consortium to build a hydroelectric power plant for Manitoba Hydro in Manitoba, Canada.[37] The unit is involved in several other ongoing projects as of March 2014 including building national infrastructure in Gabon[38] and the continuous development of Jubail in Saudi Arabia.[8] Bechtel is participating in the building of London's Crossrail, a $24 billion project that will connect commuter towns east and west of London and is intended to serve an estimated 200 million people a year upon completion.[39][40] The unit began upgrades to the London Underground's Vauxhall station to accommodate more passengers in January 2014. The project was originally estimated at £45 million, but Bechtel was able to reduce the cost by £9 million by using more economical materials.[41]

The unit is completing work on an extension of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail in Northern Virginia[28] and Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar.[42] It completed a 77.4 km four-lane motorway in Kosovo, which was finished a year ahead of schedule in November 2013.[43]

Government Services[edit]

The Government Services unit executes contracts for governmental organizations including the U.S. Departments of Defense and Energy.[18] Bechtel ranked 14th among companies by number of defense contracts in 2013.[44]

As of February 2014, the unit manages four national security-related facilities in the U.S. including the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the Y-12 National Security Complex, and Pantex Plant.[45][46]

Other ongoing projects as of March 2014 are the construction of the facilities to treat the liquid radioactive waste stored underground at DOE’s Hanford nuclear waste site in Washington for the Department of Energy. The unit also manages U.S. Department of Defense contracts to dismantle and dispose of stored chemical weapons, including decades-old mustard and nerve gas from World War II.[19][47][48] In May 2012, a consortium including Bechtel, began construction on a structure that will safely confine the damaged Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor Number 4.[49]

In June 2013 the unit completed design and construction on a U.S. Missile Defense Agency project at Fort Greely, Alaska, which included three missile fields and forty silos.[50] In November 2013, Bechtel was awarded a US$7 billion contract to work on a nuclear propulsion project for the United States Navy.[51]

Bechtel won thirteen sustainability awards from the National Nuclear Security Administration in December 2013 for Y-12 National Security Complex, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.[45]

Mining & Metals[edit]

The Mining & Metals unit works on projects related to the mining and production of materials such as aluminum, coal, copper, iron ore and other metals and minerals. The unit operates on six continents and has completed more than 2,500 major mining projects as well as over 1,000 mining studies.[52][53]

Projects include constructing Saudi Arabia's first aluminum smelter in Ras Al-Khair in 2013[52][53] and completing the Caval Ridge coal mine in Queensland, Australia.[54]

In September 2013, the unit completed the expansion of the Kooragang Coal Terminal in Port Waratah in Australia, increasing capacity to 145 million tons.[55] The unit won a contract to build a water system hand desalination plant for the Escondida copper mine in Chile in December 2013.[52][56]

Oil, Gas & Chemicals[edit]

The Oil Gas & Chemical unit designs and builds liquefied natural gas (LNG), oil, pipeline support, petrochemicals, and natural gas facilities.[18][57][58] The unit also constructs and tests tanks for LNG storage.[59]

The unit has been building three LNG plants on Curtis Island in Queensland, Australia since 2011. The Australian Pacific LNG, Gladstone LNG and Queensland Curtis LNG sites employ more than 11,000 workers and have completion dates between 2014 and 2015.[60] The unit is also constructing the Wheatstone project, a two-train LNG plant that is one of Australia's largest energy resource efforts.[61] Bechtel was awarded the front-end engineering and design of the Wheatstone plant and LNG trains in 2009.[27]

Bechtel is responsible for the engineering, procurement and construction of two LNG trains for the Sabine Pass Liquefaction project in Louisiana.[62] In May 2013, the unit was awarded a contract for the front-end engineering design of the Pacific NorthWest LNG in Vancouver, BC.[63] In December 2013, the unit was contracted to build three LNG trains, three LNG storage tanks, and two berths in Corpus Christi, Texas.[64]

In June 2013, Bechtel was named the project manager of a megapetrochemical complex in Qatar at the Ras Laffan Industrial City.[65] Bechtel's technology was licensed to be used for facility upgrades at the Rijeka Refinery in Croatia in February 2014.[66] The unit was awarded a contract to construct facilities in Georgia for the Shah Deniz II gas field in Azerbaijan.[58]


The Power unit has four lines of business: fossil, nuclear, renewables, and communications & transmission.[67] The unit works in electrical generation from nuclear, coal, solar, and wind sources. It has worked on approximately 150 nuclear power plants as of June 2013.[67][68]

Power's projects include the Panda Temple Project, a clean natural gas power plant in Temple, Texas that is designed to provide enough electricity to power 750,000 homes,[69] and work on the Tennessee Valley Authority's Watts Bar 2 nuclear reactor, which is expected to be completed in 2015.[67][54]

In June 2013, the unit won an engineering, procurement and construction contract to replace three steam generators at the Beaver Valley Nuclear Generating Station in Shippingport, Pennsylvania.[68]

Bechtel's renewable projects include the world's largest solar thermal project, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in California, which began producing power in February 2014 and has the capacity to double solar thermal power production in the United States.[67][70] The unit also completed the Catalina Solar photovoltaic generating facility in 2013 and is completing the construction of the California Valley Solar Ranch.[71]

In August 2013, the unit completed the Hanna Region Transmission Development, a power transmission project in Canada, which included 1,200 new transmission towers and 219 miles of transmission lines.[72]


Bill Dudley is CEO and Brenden Bechtel is president and chief operating officer. Bechtel is the fifth generation of the Bechtel family to lead the company. Riley P. Bechtel is chairman of the board, after stepping down as CEO in 2013.[73] Mike Adams has been chief financial officer since 2012.[74]

Financials and rankings[edit]

Bechtel ranked fourth on Forbes 2013 list of America's Largest Private Companies by revenue.[75] It has been named the top U.S. Contractor by revenue by Engineering News-Record for fifteen years in a row and ranked third on the publication's Top 250 International Contractors list by revenue in 2013.[76][77]

Alleged misconduct[edit]

Bechtel's work has been the subject of controversy, including a number of cases of contractor misconduct in the United States in the past decade. These cases have included significant issues at a site in Hanford, Washington where Bechtel was decommissioning a former nuclear weapons site without conducting adequate safety reviews of some of the equipment used, and where the Department of Energy's inspector general alleged that "Bechtel determined that there was a systemic problem and a breakdown in controls over the review of design changes," but that the company had taken steps to correct the problems.[78] Bechtel's failure to conduct safety reviews of the equipment they used led to at least some underground tanks leaking radioactive waste in to nearby groundwater.[79] Senator Ron Wyden has alleged that Bechtel fired a whistleblower at the Hanford site, and expressed concern that this would discourage further whistleblowers from coming forward.[80]

In Bolivia, one of Latin America's poorest countries, Bechtel increased water rates by more than 50% after it secured a very controversial concession in the country just after a privatization program of water systems led by the US based World Bank in the late 90s.[81][82]

Major projects[edit]

Major projects have included:


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  91. ^ Tengiz field expansion project awarded to Bechtel-Enka Joint Venture Alexander’s Gas & Oil Connections, 29 July 1997
  92. ^ Bechtel National team awarded $306m contract to design , build and operate chemical agent disposal facility in Maryland Bechtel, 6 October 1998
  93. ^ Intergen and Enka complete $1.5bn financing of major power plants in Turkey Businesswire, 28 September 2000
  94. ^ US official says Mayak Warhead storage facility to open in November Bellona, 19 June 2002
  95. ^ Ex-Im Bank to loan Bechtel $178m for Araucaria BN Americas, 8 October 2001
  96. ^ Joge Chávez International Airport
  97. ^ Bechtel and Parsons Brinkerhoff reach settlement in Big Dig Bechtel, 23 January 2008
  98. ^ Ex-Im Bank finances $250m in US exports to build Croatian highway Ex-Im Bank, 22 October 1998
  99. ^ Bechtel: Transformation of Oak Ridge
  100. ^ Albania and Kosova: Connected Again
  101. ^ Bechtel: New Doha International Airport
  102. ^ Oman Airports Management Committee
  103. ^ Bechtel drives a highway through the heart of Transylvania Der Spiegel, 1 August 2008
  104. ^ Dulles Transit Partners

Further reading[edit]

  • Mead, Robert Douglas. Journeys Down the Line: Building the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, Doubleday, 1978.
  • McCartney, Laton. "Friends in High Places", Ballantine Books, 1988.

External links[edit]