- Bechtel, the country's largest contractor by revenue, reported $21.8 billion in total revenue for last year, a 14.5% decrease compared to the year before. New project awards were down 44.5% from 2018.
- The Reston, Virginia-based company's backlog fell as well, by 18% to $38.3 billion, according to its annual report released this week.
- In a highlight from 2019, the firm was chosen by NASA to design, construct, and commission Mobile Launcher 2, which will be used to assemble and launch the next version of the Space Launch System rocket.
No. 14 on Forbes’ list of the largest privately owned American companies, Bechtel has led the U.S. construction industry for the past two decades. The company operates across the world in a variety of sectors including oil and gas and infrastructure. Some of its largest projects in the U.S. in recent years are Cheniere Energy’s $11 billion Liquefaction project in Corpus Christi, Texas, and Tellurian’s $27.5 billion Driftwood LNG export terminal near Lake Charles, Louisiana.
In February, the company opened an office in Manhattan to take advantage of the infrastructure project demand there after its previous New York City office closed in 2009. In a statement, Chairman and CEO Brendan Bechtel said the company is looking to partner with the city in its goal of "improving transportation, expanding digital technology and insuring access to safe, reliable infrastructure."
The future outlook for Bechtel and every other U.S. construction firm will be shaped by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which began in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, and spread to the United States early this year. In a statement to Construction Dive earlier this week, a company spokesperson said that the health and safety of its employees is the company's top concern during the crisis. At least one of its largest projects, a mutlibillion-dollar Shell cracker plant under construction in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, has had its jobsite shut down during the crisis.
"Our colleagues work in different environments across the world, in office buildings and project sites, and no one-size-fits-all solution will ensure everyone’s safety," the statement reads. "This is a rapidly changing global challenge, and we are working with our customers to carefully monitoring our projects for any potential impacts. As conditions change, we will not hesitate to take additional measures to protect our colleagues."