updated 9/2/2004 8:32:28 AM ET 2004-09-02T12:32:28

Halliburton says an internal investigation has found that a consortium it later took over had once considered bribing Nigerian officials to win an energy contract.

Documents found during the investigation of the $180 million bribery scandal suggested the payments were discussed at least 10 years ago, before Halliburton took the lead of the multinational business group TSKJ.

The probe has not found evidence confirming that any such payments were ever made, Halliburton said in a news release posted on its Web site Wednesday.

The allegations center on a contract for a $4 billion liquefied natural gas plant in Nigeria awarded in 1995 to four partners: M.W. Kellogg Co., a subsidiary of Dresser Industries; Technip SA of France; ENI SpA of Italy; and Japan Gasoline Corp.

Halliburton, which acquired M.W. Kellogg as part of its acquisition of Dresser Industries, said it provided the information from its probe to the U.S. Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the French magistrate investigating these matters.

Halliburton also is notifying the other owners of TSKJ, a private, limited liability company registered in Madeira, Portugal.

Halliburton said in a statement that it will continue to investigate "even though so far the new information appears to relate to conduct that took place almost entirely before Halliburton acquired M.W. Kellogg."

Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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