DOD Awards Manas Transit Center Fuel Contract

WASHINGTON — The Defense Depart­ment has award­ed a $315 mil­lion one-year con­tract with a one-year option to Lon­don-based Mina Corp. Ltd. to sup­ply 96 mil­lion U.S. gal­lons of jet fuel to the U.S. Tran­sit Cen­ter in Kyr­gyzs­tan, which serves as a key logis­ti­cal hub for the war effort in Afghanistan.

The con­tract is worth $630 mil­lion over two years if the option is exer­cised. The first deliv­ery under the con­tract to the Tran­sit Cen­ter at Man­as will be no lat­er than Feb. 1. “The core logis­ti­cal require­ment for the Tran­sit Cen­ter is fuel,” Derek Mitchell, prin­ci­pal deputy assis­tant sec­re­tary of defense for Asian and Pacif­ic secu­ri­ty affairs, told Amer­i­can Forces Press Ser­vice.

Mina Corp. was award­ed the last fuel con­tract in August 2009 as a sole-source con­tract for nation­al secu­ri­ty rea­sons. After the change in Kyr­gyz gov­ern­ment in April, the Kyr­gyz pro­vi­sion­al gov­ern­ment asked the Unit­ed States to re-exam­ine the sole-source con­tract, a Defense spokes­woman said, and offi­cials deter­mined the nation­al secu­ri­ty con­cerns requir­ing a sole-source con­tract no longer exist­ed.

In response to the con­tin­ued fuel require­ment for the Man­as Tran­sit Cen­ter, the Defense Logis­tics Agency’s ener­gy sup­ply chain issued a solic­i­ta­tion for a require­ments fuel con­tract June 9. The Unit­ed States amend­ed the solic­i­ta­tion in Sep­tem­ber to allow for a sec­ondary con­tract award that would make it pos­si­ble for oth­er fuel sup­pli­ers — poten­tial­ly includ­ing a Kyr­gyz state-owned sup­pli­er or an inter­na­tion­al joint ven­ture — to pro­vide up to 50 per­cent of the fuel.

In April, the House Gov­ern­ment Reform Committee’s sub­com­mit­tee on nation­al secu­ri­ty and for­eign affairs began a for­mal inves­ti­ga­tion into alle­ga­tions that con­tracts to Mina Corp. to sup­ply fuel to the Tran­sit Cen­ter sub­stan­tial­ly enriched fam­i­ly mem­bers of then-Kyr­gyz Pres­i­dent Kur­man­bek S. Bakiyev, who was oust­ed from office April 7. The inves­ti­ga­tion is ongo­ing.

A Defense Depart­ment spokes­woman said today that DOD has no infor­ma­tion about Mina Corp. that would pre­clude award­ing a con­tract to the com­pa­ny.

“It is a pri­or­i­ty of the Unit­ed States,” Mitchell said, “to ensure a secure, reli­able and unin­ter­rupt­ed sup­ply of fuel to the Tran­sit Cen­ter to enable us to sus­tain our crit­i­cal oper­a­tions in Afghanistan. At the same time we rec­og­nize the impor­tance of a fuel con­tract process that is pub­licly trans­par­ent and ful­ly in com­pli­ance with U.S. and Kyr­gyz laws and reg­u­la­tions.”

The Tran­sit Cen­ter in Man­as, near the cap­i­tal city of Bishkek, is a key part of the North­ern Dis­tri­b­u­tion Net­work, a series of com­mer­cial­ly based logis­tic arrange­ments con­nect­ing Baltic and Caspi­an ports with Afghanistan via Rus­sia, Cen­tral Asia and the Cau­ca­sus region. The Tran­sit Cen­ter rep­re­sents an impor­tant con­tri­bu­tion by Kyr­gyzs­tan toward the efforts of the inter­na­tion­al coali­tion in Afghanistan, a State Depart­ment spokesman said.

The crit­i­cal role that Kyr­gyzs­tan plays in the sup­ply chain for the U.S. and NATO war effort in Afghanistan has focused atten­tion on the polit­i­cal tur­moil in Kyr­gyzs­tan. Final results from an Oct. 10 par­lia­men­tary elec­tion were announced Nov. 1. Accord­ing to the Kyr­gyz con­sti­tu­tion, the new par­lia­ment must be seat­ed and hold its first ses­sion with­in two weeks.

Since 2001, the Tran­sit Cen­ter at Man­as has rep­re­sent­ed a strong part­ner­ship between the Unit­ed States and Kyr­gyzs­tan in pro­mot­ing inter­na­tion­al region­al sta­bil­i­ty, Mitchell said.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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