Engineering the future

In 1980 Bechtel posted $11.3 billion in new bookings, more than double the previous year and the highest ever, to that point. Crews were at work on 132 major projects in 20 countries. 

  • 1981
    • We are awarded our first contracts to clean up radioactive government research sites in the Unites States.
    • The first gold is mined at the Ok Tedi gold and copper project. Bechtel, in a joint venture, provides engineering, procurement, and construction services. The project mines, processes, and ships more than a million tons of copper ore from an isolated mountaintop in Papua New Guinea between 1987 and 1994 alone.
  • 1982

    In New Zealand, Bechtel begins constructing the world’s first commercial facility to convert natural gas to gasoline.

  • 1983

    Bechtel provides start-up engineering and construction support for the completion and commercial operation of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power facility in California.

  • 1986 Ankara-Gerede Motorway

    Widget Image

    Ankara-Gerede Motorway

    Bechtel begins work on the Ankara-Gerede Motorway in Turkey.

  • 1987 Channel Tunnel

    Widget Image

    Completing the Chunnel

    Bechtel gets involved in completing the Channel Tunnel, connecting England and France. One of the century’s largest engineering and construction projects and the world’s largest privately financed infrastructure project, the tunnel opens in 1994.

  • 1989 Boston Central Artery

    In a joint venture with Parsons Brinckerhoff, Bechtel begins construction on the Boston Central Artery/Tunnel project, America’s largest infrastructure job, which includes a freeway beneath Boston and a tunnel beneath Boston Harbor.

  • 1989

    Widget Image

    Riley P. Bechtel

    Riley P. Bechtel becomes president of Bechtel Group.

  • 1990 Hong Kong Airport

    Bechtel helps manage the Hong Kong Airport Core Programme—10 projects that include construction of bridges, tunnels, railroads, and an international airport at Chek Lap Kok, and extensive land reclamation.

  • 1991 Athens Metro

    A Bechtel-managed consortium begins an ambitious expansion and modernization of the Athens Metro subway system in time for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Greece.

  • 1991 Extinquishing the Kuwait Oil Fires

    Widget Image

    Extinguishing the Kuwait Oil Fires

    In the aftermath of the Gulf War, Bechtel leads the effort to put out 650 oil-well fires and rebuild Kuwait’s oil infrastructure, destroyed by Iraqi troops.

  • 1992

    A Bechtel joint venture is selected to provide design, procurement, and construction management services for a Motorola facility in Tianjin, China, that will produce a variety of electronic products and provide office space. Bechtel will work for Motorola in China for the rest of the decade

  • 1993 PGT-PG&E Pipeline

    PGT-PG&E Pipeline

    The 800-mile (1,287-kilometer) Bechtel-built PGT-PG&E natural gas pipeline expansion is completed.

    Widget Image

  • 1994

    As part of the Cooperative Threat Reduction program, Bechtel helps Russia develop a comprehensive chemical weapons destruction plan.

  • 1995
    • Bechtel is the first U.S. firm granted a construction license in China: Motorola semiconductor manufacturing facility.
    • El Abra, Chile: copper mine
    • Bechtel is selected as the prime contractor for Atlantic LNG, the Western Hemisphere’s first liquefied natural gas plant in 25 years. The plant, on the island of Trinidad, becomes the largest single investment ever in the Caribbean.
  • 1996

    Bechtel begins work on an $800 million, 440-megawatt power plant in Quezon Province in the Philippines.

  • 1998


    • starts a 93-mile (150-kilometer) section of the Croatian Motorway.
    • begins a copper and zinc mine high in the Peruvian Andes at the Antamina Mine. 
    • begins the high-speed rail link connecting the Channel Tunnel to London, to provide seamless high-speed passage among London, Paris and Brussels.
    • takes on building the Jubilee Line extension of the London Underground.​
  • 1999


    • works on mustard agent stockpile destruction at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. 
    • builds a shelter for 20,000 Kosovar refugees at Camp Hope, Albania.