KBR's history goes back to the days before the Wright Brothers successfully flew the first airplane, automobiles were a rarity and the primary means of communication was the telegraph. In 1901, Morris W. Kellogg opened a tiny pipe fabrication business in New York that would become a world-class engineering firm known as M.W. Kellogg. Kellogg's engineering expertise led to creation of new technologies, and industry milestones, including building the world's first catalytic cracking facility in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1942 and Europe's first crude oil-based liquid ethylene cracking facility in 1956. Kellogg revolutionized fertilizer production in the 1960s through the creation of a new ammonia process, making it possible for a rapid growth in global food production.
Many of the innovations that originated in the Kellogg laboratory starting in 1927 are now the foundation for the petroleum refining and petrochemical processing facilities and remain a major part of KBR today.
Shortly after the conclusion of World War I, George and Herman Brown partnered with their brother-in-law, Dan Root, to start a Texas-based construction company that would carry their names: Brown and Root. The company began building roads, but quickly expanded into other areas. In 1940, Brown and Root received its first government contract, to build the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station; a year later, the company was awarded a contract to build the first of what would become a total of 359 ships for the U.S. Navy.
After succeeding in the shipbuilding business, Brown and Root set its sights further offshore. In 1947, the company set a global milestone when it constructed the first offshore oil platform 43 miles off the coast of Morgan City, Louisiana. In 1965, it was responsible for another industry first when it built the first offshore oil platform in the North Sea. When Halliburton purchased Brown and Root in 1962, its reputation as a leading offshore rig builder, road construction company and general contractor was assured.
M.W. Kellogg underwent numerous acquisitions and name changes from 1944, and into the late 80s when it was acquired by Dresser Industries, a provider of integrated services and project management for the oil and gas industry. Ten years later, Dresser was purchased by Halliburton, where it was combined with M.W. Kellogg and Brown and Root, creating new, larger subsidiary: Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR).
In 2007, KBR reached a major milestone as it separated from Halliburton and became a stand-alone company. Today, KBR employs approximately 27,000 people globally and is considered one of the world's premier engineering, construction and services companies. KBR supports the civil infrastructure, hydrocarbon, government and defense and power and industrial sectors and services its clients with a broad range of products and services through its Downstream; Gas Monetization; Infrastructure & Minerals; International Government, Defence and Support Services; North American Government and Logistics; Oil & Gas; Power & Industrial; Services; Technology; and Ventures business units.
KBR's Services business unit received a significant addition in 2008 with the acquisition of Alabama-based BE&K and Energo Engineering in 2010. The addition of BE&K added new capabilities and gave KBR inroads into new industries, including power, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and health care and the addition of Energo engineering has helped us expand and improve upon our structural engineering capabilities, integrity management and offshore and onshore facilities.
As KBR makes its way through its second century in business, it can look back upon a solid foundation as it strives for future success.