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Profile: Enron

 
  

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Enron actively participated in the following events:

 
  

1991-1997: Oil Investment in Central Asia Follows Soviet Collapse      Complete 911 Timeline

       The Soviet Union collapses in 1991, creating several new nations in Central Asia. Major US oil companies, including ExxonMobil, Texaco, Unocal, BP Amoco, Shell, and Enron, directly invest billions in these Central Asian nations, bribing heads of state to secure equity rights in the huge oil reserves in these regions. The oil companies commit to $35 billion in future direct investments in Kazakhstan. It is believed at the time that these oil fields will have an estimated $6 trillion potential value. US companies own approximately 75 percent of the rights. These companies, however, face the problem of having to pay exorbitant prices to Russia for use of the Russian pipelines to get the oil out. [Asia Times, 1/26/02; New Yorker, 7/9/01]
People and organizations involved: Soviet Union, Unocal, Enron, Russia, BP, Kazakhstan, ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch/Shell, Texaco
          

November 1993: Enron Power Plant Creates Demand for an Afghanistan Pipeline      Complete 911 Timeline

      
The Dabhol power plant.
The Indian government approves construction of Enron's Dabhol power plant, located near Bombay on the west coast of India. Enron has invested $3 billion, the largest single foreign investment in India's history. Enron owns 65 percent of the Dabhol liquefied natural gas power plant, intended to provide one-fifth of India's energy needs by 1997. [Asia Times, 1/18/01; Indian Express, 2/27/00] It is the largest gas-fired power plant in the world. Earlier in the year, the World Bank concluded that the plant was “not economically viable” and refused to invest in it. [New York Times, 3/20/01]
People and organizations involved: India, World Bank, Enron
          

1995-November 2001: US Lobbies India Over Enron Power Plant      Complete 911 Timeline

       Enron's $3 billion Dabhol, India power plant runs into trouble in 1995 when the Indian government temporarily cancels an agreement. The plant is projected to get its energy from the proposed Afghan pipeline and deliver it to the Indian government. Enron leader Ken Lay travels to India with Commerce Secretary Ron Brown the same year, and heavy lobbying by US officials continue in subsequent years. By summer 2001, the National Security Council leads a “Dabhol Working Group” with officials from various cabinet agencies to get the plant completed and functioning. US pressure on India intensifies until shortly before Enron files for bankruptcy in December 2001. US officials later claim their lobbying merely supported the $640 million of US government investment in the plant. But critics say the plant received unusually strong support under both the Clinton and Bush administrations. [Washington Post, 1/19/02; New York Daily News, 1/18/02]
People and organizations involved: National Security Council, Enron, Bush administration, Clinton administration, Kenneth Lay, India, Donald L. Evans
          

June 24, 1996: Uzbekistan Cuts a Deal with Enron      Complete 911 Timeline

       Uzbekistan signs a deal with Enron “that could lead to joint development of the Central Asian nation's potentially rich natural gas fields.” [Houston Chronicle, 6/25/96] The $1.3 billion venture teams Enron with the state companies of Russia and Uzbekistan. [Houston Chronicle, 6/30/96] On July 8, 1996, the US government agrees to give $400 million to help Enron and an Uzbek state company develop these natural gas fields. [Oil and Gas Journal, 7/8/96]
People and organizations involved: Enron, Uzbekistan
          

November 1997: Enron and bin Laden Family Team Up for Project      Complete 911 Timeline

       Industry newsletter reports that Saudi Arabia has abandoned plans for open bids on a $2 billion power plant near Mecca, deciding that the government will build it instead. Interestingly, one of the bids was made by a consortium of Enron, the Saudi Binladin Group (run by Osama's family), and Italy's Ansaldo Energia. [Alexander's Gas and Oil Connections, 1/22/98]
People and organizations involved: Saudi Arabia, Enron, Saudi Binladin Group, Office for the Protection of the Constitution
          

June 1998: Enron Shuts Down Uzbekistan Pipeline Project      Complete 911 Timeline

       Enron's agreement from 1996 (see June 24, 1996) to develop natural gas with Uzbekistan is not renewed. Enron closes its office there. The reason for the “failure of Enron's flagship project” is an inability to get the natural gas out of the region. Uzbekistan's production is “well below capacity” and only 10 percent of its production is being exported, all to other countries in the region. The hope was to use a pipeline through Afghanistan, but “Uzbekistan is extremely concerned at the growing strength of the Taliban and its potential impact on stability in Uzbekistan, making any future cooperation on a pipeline project which benefits the Taliban unlikely.” A $12 billion pipeline through China is being considered as one solution, but that wouldn't be completed until the end of the next decade at the earliest. [Alexander's Gas and Oil Connections, 10/12/98]
People and organizations involved: China, Uzbekistan, Enron, Taliban
          

June 1999: Enron Plans Power Plant with bin Laden Family      Complete 911 Timeline

       Enron announces an agreement to build a $140 million power plant in the Gaza Strip, between Israel and Egypt. One of the major financiers for the project is the Saudi Binladin Group, a company owned by bin Laden's family. This is the second attempted project between these two companies. Ninety percent complete, the construction will be halted because of Palestinian-Israeli violence and then Enron's bankruptcy. [Washington Post, 3/2/02]
People and organizations involved: Saudi Binladin Group, Enron
          

January 21, 2001: Bush Administration Takes Over; Many Have Oil Industry Connections      Complete 911 Timeline

      
The Chevron oil tanker named after National Security Advisor Rice.
George W. Bush is inaugurated as the 43rd US President, replacing Bill Clinton. The only Cabinet-level figure to remain permanently in office is CIA Director Tenet, appointed in 1997 and reputedly a long-time friend of George H. W. Bush. FBI Director Louis Freeh stays on until June 2001. Numerous figures in Bush's administration have been directly employed in the oil industry, including Bush, Vice President Cheney, and National Security Adviser Rice. Rice had been on Chevron's Board of Directors since 1991, and even had a Chevron oil tanker named after her. [Salon, 11/19/01] It is later revealed that Cheney is still being paid up to $1 million a year in “deferred payments” from Halliburton, the oil company he headed. [Guardian, 3/12/03] Enron's ties also reach deep into the administration. [Washington Post, 1/18/02]
People and organizations involved: William Jefferson ("Bill") Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Louis J. Freeh, George W. Bush, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Enron, George Tenet
          

Late February 2001: Enron Influences Cheney's Energy Task Force to Help Troubled Dabhol Plant      Complete 911 Timeline

       Vice President Cheney is holding a series of secret energy task force meetings to determine the Bush administration's future energy policy. Starting at this time, Enron leader Ken Lay and other Enron officials take part in a least half a dozen of these secret meetings. After one such meeting, Cheney's energy task force changes a draft energy proposal to include a provision boosting oil and natural gas production in India. The amendment is so narrow that it apparently is targeted to only help Enron's troubled Dabhol power plant in India. [Washington Post, 1/19/02]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Kenneth Lay, Enron, Bush administration
          

May 2001: Cheney's Energy Plan Foresees Government Helping US Companies Expand Into New Markets      Complete 911 Timeline

       Vice President Cheney's national energy plan is released to the public. It calls for expanded oil and gas drilling on public land and easing regulatory barriers to building nuclear power plants. [Associated Press, 12/9/02] There are several interesting points, little noticed at the time. It suggests that the US cannot depend exclusively on traditional sources of supply to provide the growing amount of oil that it needs. It will also have to obtain substantial supplies from new sources, such as the Caspian states, Russia, and Africa. It also notes that the US cannot rely on market forces alone to gain access to these added supplies, but will also require a significant effort on the part of government officials to overcome foreign resistance to the outward reach of American energy companies. [Japan Today, 4/30/02] The plan was largely decided through Cheney's secretive Energy Task Force. Both before and after this, Cheney and other Task Force officials meet with Enron executives (including one meeting a month and a half before Enron declares bankruptcy in December 2001). Two separate lawsuits are later filed to reveal details of how the government's energy policy was formed and whether Enron or other players may have influenced it, but as of mid-2005 the Bush administration has successfully resisted all efforts to release these documents. [Associated Press, 12/9/02]
People and organizations involved: Enron, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Bush administration
          

June 2001: Enron Shuts Down Expensive Indian Plant Afghan Pipeline Fails to Materialize      Complete 911 Timeline

       Enron's power plant in Dabhol, India, is shut down. The failure of the $3 billion plant, Enron's largest investment, contributes to Enron's bankruptcy in December. Earlier in the year, India stopped paying its bill for the energy from the plant, because energy from the plant cost three times the usual rates. [New York Times, 3/20/01] Enron had hoped to feed the plant with cheap Central Asian gas, but this hope was dashed when a gas pipeline through Afghanistan was not completed. The larger part of the plant is still only 90 percent complete when construction stops around this time. [New York Times, 3/20/01] Enron executives meet with Commerce Secretary Donald L. Evans about its troubled Dabhol power plant during this year [New York Times, 2/21/02] , and Vice President Cheney lobbies the leader of India's main opposition party about the plant this month. [New York Times, 2/21/02]
People and organizations involved: India, Donald L. Evans, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Enron
          

December 2, 2001: Enron Files for Bankruptcy      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Enron's logo.
Enron files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy—the biggest bankruptcy in history up to that date. [BBC, 1/10/02] However, in 2002 Enron will reorganize as a pipeline company and will continue working on its controversial Dabhol power plant. [Houston Business Journal, 3/15/02]
People and organizations involved: Enron
          

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