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Russia’s state-owned natural gas company says the U.S. shale-gas boom is economically unsustainable — and it’s buttressing its claim with financial data collected by an American consulting firm located less than 20 miles from the White House. Moscow-based Gazprom, the world’s largest gas company, is working with Pace Global Energy Services, a consulting firm in Fairfax, Virginia, to analyze how much money U.S. gas companies are spending on hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. Gazprom, citing the Virginia company’s data, says the true costs of U.S. shale-gas production are upwards of 150% higher than the revenues its practitioners have been reaping in the last few years. Gazprom says this will ultimately lead to the demise of fracking-based shale-gas drilling in the US and other countries that are considering adopting it. But Gazprom’s critics say the company and its unlikely Washington-area ally are spreading “myths and misconceptions” about the U.S.-led shale-gas gas boom so that European and Asian countries will not develop their own shale plays, and will instead continue to buy conventional Russian gas.
This investigation reveals lax government oversight of the nation's largest statewide natural gas pipeline system. It shows Texas regulators failing to conduct proper oversight and rarely penalized gas companies after fatal gas explosions.
Dyer reports that 750 miles of faulty gas pipes were installed by a Texas company in the 1970s. Thirty years later, these same gas pipes went unrepaired and eventually exploded, killing five people. Dyer raises questions about why these pipes were installed in the first place and why no one cared enough to fix the problem before it became dangerous.
The Star finds that Sen. Bob Dole's presidential campaign collected tens of thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions, most of which were engineered by a vice-chairman of his campaign. The campaign official, who was a Boston millionaire hoping to win a foreign ambassadorship, funneled the cash through a Hong Kong bank account, then through employees of his company. In a separate scheme on the opposite side of the continent, a Las Vegas company that opposed a national tax on casinos unlawfully paid its executives and their wives to contribute to Dole. The total in illegal contributions exceeded $132,000. (April 21 - October 24, 1996)