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Reference ID Subject Created Released Classification Origin
05SANAA1589 GOOD NEWS FOR YEMEN'S INVESTMENT CLIMATE: DUBAI 2005-06-14 2011-02-03 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Sanaa
08TRIPOLI595 A COMMERCIAL CAUTIONARY TALE: BECHTEL'S BID FOR SIRTE PORT PROJECT FALLS FLAT CLASSIFIED BY: John T. Godfrey, CDA, U.S. Embassy - Tripoli, Dept of State. REASON: 1.4 (b) 1. (C) Summary: An unsuccessful year-long bid by U.S. firm Bechtel to build a commercial port in the Libyan city of Sirte has shed light on how decisions about large foreign investment projects in Libya are made. Bechtel's bid went through several evolutions, including signing a memorandum of understanding with the Prime Minister and a resolution by Libya's Cabinet-equivalent to give the company the contract. In the end, the contract evaporated after apparent late-innings intervention by senior regime figures. Despite a year's worth of effort, $1 million worth of expenses, numerous high-level visits, and formal decisions by the GOL to bless the contract, the company's efforts were ultimately unsuccessful, underscoring the fact that Libya's much-trumpeted bidding process is less than transparent, and that the GOL's formal structures do not have the final word on major foreign investment projects. The fact that an operator with Bechtel's savvy and deep pockets was ultimately unable to secure its contract serves as a cautionary tale for the many U.S. and western companies seeking to enter Libya's booming market. End summary. PROMISING BEGINNINGS ... 2. (C) U.S. engineering and consulting giant Bechtel has just declared as dead a year-long attempt to secure a $1 billion cost-plus contract to build a commercial port in the Libyan city of Sirte. Bechtel began its pursuit of the Sirte port contract in July 2007, when senior Bechtel representative Charles Redman (strictly protect), former U.S. Ambassador to Germany, arrived in Tripoli for discussions at the invitation of the Qadhafi Development Foundation (QDF), a quasi-governmental entity headed by Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, son of Muammar al-Qadhafi. During the initial visit, QDF representatives encouraged Bechtel to bid on several small infrastructure projects so the company could "prove itself". Redman made it clear that Bechtel wanted, but did not need, business in Libya and had a record that spoke for itself. Eventually, QDF representatives invited Bechtel to execute two projects: a new commercial port facility at Sirte and management of an industrial city adjacent to the Ras Lanuf oil facility. The QDF proposed that Bechtel partner with the Libyan Economic and Social Development Fund (ESDF) to execute the Sirte Port project. 3. (C) This initial burst of positive energy dissipated over the next six months. Bechtel slowly made progress on a contract for the Sirte port project, but its relationship with General People's Committee (GPC) for Transportation, its primary interlocutor on the deal (apart from the QDF), became increasingly difficult. This primarily manifested itself in a lack of responsiveness on facilitation of visas for Bechtel representatives, prompting Bechtel to seek support from other quarters of the Government of Libya (GOL) to facilitate travel by its negotiators and technical staff. In November 2007, then Deputy Foreign Minister Muhammed Siala remarked publicly during a visit to Washington that Bechtel would not secure the Sirte port contract if Secretary Rice failed to visit Libya by year's end. LEAD TO HIGH-PROFILE COMMITMENTS 4. (C) After months of go-slow negotiations, Bechtel experienced an apparent breakthrough in February, when Redman received an urgent call from Minister of Transportation Elmabruk, who asked that the company's team be in Sirte on February 25 to "sign the contract". Although the company was still in the midst of conducting a laborious due diligence review of the contract (key provisions of which had not been finalized), they were convinced to rush a delegation to Sirte in time for a signing event. At that event, Prime Minister al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi and Bechtel signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) committing the two sides to finalizing the contract as soon as possible. In addition, the General People's Committee (Cabinet-equivalent) issued Decision #158 on March 3, which was effectively an announcement of contract terms that granted permission to the GPC for Transportation to sign a contract with Bechtel. Following these public steps by the GOL, Bechtel reported that the GPC for Transportation appeared to be working in earnest to finalize an English-language version of the contract. RADIO SILENCE BROKEN BY BAD NEWS FROM SAIF AL-ISLAM'S INTERMEDIARY TRIPOLI 00000595 002 OF 002 5. (C) With expectations running high that a final deal was imminent, Bechtel pressed on with negotiations and a fully-vetted contract was presented to the Transportation Minister in early May. From that point on, all communication with the QDF, GPC for Transportation and Libyan Ports Authority (another key player in the deal) went dead. Sensing that something was amiss, Bechtel representatives continued to inquire about that status of the contract, but received no response. On July 14, Abdulhakim el-Ghami, described as "an intermediary for a person very close to Saif al-Islam", called Redman to inform him that the port project had been canceled. (Note: Redman told us el-Ghami, who is based in Munich, appears to be a key conduit for Saif al-Islam's dealings with foreign companies. End note.) Bechtel received no explanation as to why the contract was cancelled, but el-Ghami encouraged the company to "seriously consider" undertaking a different, unspecified infrastructure development project. 6. (C) Comment: Bechtel's experience throws into stark relief the fact that economic and commercial decisions ostensibly finalized by even the most senior levels of the GOL can be overturned by influential elements operating outside the formal government structure. Libyan officials have made much of recent measures designed to ensure transparency and predictability in bids for commercial contracts; however, the reality is that contracts of any size, particularly those involving foreign companies, are subject to intense maneuvering by regime insiders jockeying to ensure that they company they happen to champion wins the prize. Bechtel's story also reinforces post's understanding of Saif al-Islam's key as a principal gatekeeper for large foreign investment projects in Libya, a process he manages through the QDF and the National Engineering Services and Supply Company (NESSCO - further details will be reported septel). The silver lining in this tale of woe is that Bechtel's power division has been awarded a project management job for construction of a new power plant outside Sirte; however, the sorry denouement of the company's efforts to secure the Sirte port contract have dampened its for seeking any new major projects in Libya in the near future and should serve as a cautionary tale for other U.S. companies considering major investment projects here. . GODFREY 2008-07-23 2011-02-01 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tripoli
08TRIPOLI642 2008-08-12 2011-02-01 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tripoli
09STATE40237 UKRAINE: REPORTING ON THE FEBRUARY 24-25, 2009 2009-04-22 2011-02-01 SECRET Secretary of State
09TRIPOLI273 NEARLY 400 RESCUED BUT 200 MISSING AT SEA IN MIGRANT SMUGGLING TRAGEDY REF: A. ROME 205 B. TRIPOLI 212 C. VALLETTA 143 TRIPOLI 00000273 001.2 OF 002 CLASSIFIED BY: Gene Cretz, Ambassador. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d) 2009-04-02 2011-01-31 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tripoli
09STATE86227 EGYPT LEAHY VETTING RESPONSE 2009-08-19 2011-01-28 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Secretary of State
09STATE106226 EGYPT LEAHY VETTING RESPONSE - 382 AND 99204 THRU 2009-10-13 2011-01-28 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Secretary of State
09STATE108736 EGYPT LEAHY VETTING RESPONSE - 99209 THRU 99249 - 2009-10-21 2011-01-28 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Secretary of State
09STATE113298 EGYPT LEAHY VETTING RESPONSE 2009-11-03 2011-01-28 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Secretary of State
09STATE113897 EGYPT LEAHY VETTING REPSONSE 2009-11-04 2011-01-28 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Secretary of State
09STATE114151 EGYPT LEAHY VETTING RESPONSE 2009-11-05 2011-01-28 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Secretary of State
10CAIRO221 New Transport Minister Supports Greater Cooperation with 2010-02-21 2011-01-28 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Cairo
09REYKJAVIK200 INTERNATIONAL MARITIME ORGANIZATION - DELIVERY OF DEMARCHE 2009-11-09 2011-01-13 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Reykjavik
04MADRID2605 SPAIN: MARINE SECURITY PROGRAMS 2004-07-09 2010-12-18 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Madrid
05MADRID655 NSDD 38: Department of Homeland Security/U.S. 2005-02-18 2010-12-18 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Madrid
07MADRID1030 MEGAPORTS INITIATIVE: WORKING OUT THE KINKS IN 2007-05-25 2010-12-18 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Madrid
07MADRID1909 SPAIN: UPDATE ON MEGAPORTS NON-PROLIFERATION 2007-10-01 2010-12-18 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Madrid
07MADRID2044 SPAIN CONCERNED WITH NEW U.S. MARITIME CARGO 2007-10-29 2010-12-18 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Madrid
08MADRID1003 MADRID WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE, SEPT. 15-19 2008-09-22 2010-12-18 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Madrid
08PANAMA820 CANAL BIDDING PROCESS DELAYED AGAIN 2008-10-24 2010-12-18 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Panama
08PANAMA851 ROUGH WATER FOR CANAL EXPANSION 2008-11-06 2010-12-18 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Panama
09PANAMA195 PANAMA CANAL EXPANSION BIDS SUBMITTED 2009-03-10 2010-12-18 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Panama
09PANAMA519 PRIMARY PANAMA CANAL CONTRACT TO BE AWARDED 2009-06-30 2010-12-18 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Panama
09STATE69224 DEMARCHE REQUEST: ENSURING FAIRNESS BY BIDDERS IN 2009-07-02 2010-12-18 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Secretary of State
09PANAMA539 SACYR WINS CANAL CONTRACT, SIGNALING BROADER 2009-07-08 2010-12-18 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Panama
09PANAMA550 IN BARGAIN BASEMENT BID, SPANISH TO EXPAND PANAMA 2009-07-09 2010-12-18 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Panama
10PANAMA1 Senior GOP Officials Express Doubts About Contractor for 2010-01-08 2010-12-18 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Panama
09STOCKHOLM425 DEMARCHE DELIVERED: IMPLEMENTING UN SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION 1874 2009-07-14 2010-12-14 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Stockholm
08ASHGABAT1399 EXPAT SOURCES SAY THAT ITERA GAVE TURKMENISTAN A 2008-10-23 2010-12-13 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Ashgabat
08STATE103511 NOTIFICATION OF AFFECTED STATES: HIJACKING OF BELIZE-FLAGGED 2008-09-27 2010-12-09 SECRET Secretary of State
07MADRID1285 WHEN WILL ODYSSEY SHIPS SAIL OUT? 2007-07-02 2010-12-08 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Madrid
07MADRID1722 ODYSSEY UPDATE: DHS DELIVERS CUSTOMS INFORMATION 2007-09-07 2010-12-08 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Madrid
09RIODEJANEIRO285 Rio Radar - August 21, 2009 2009-08-24 2010-12-07 UNCLASSIFIED Consulate Rio De Janeiro
09BRUSSELS1032 IN A REPEAT OF 2008, DIVISIONS EXIST BETWEEN EU 2009-07-28 2010-12-03 CONFIDENTIAL USEU Brussels
09LONDON1156 HMG FLOATS PROPOSAL FOR MARINE RESERVE COVERING 2009-05-15 2010-12-01 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy London
05LONDON4981 IMO SECGEN REPORTS ON HIS TRIP TO THE KOREAN PENINSULAR 2005-06-15 2010-11-29 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy London
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