Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

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Search results for "petroleum" ...

  • Cheated Under the Hood

    This undercover KXAN investigation exposed automotive shops charging customers for the most expensive, highest quality synthetic motor oil for their cars but putting in much cheaper, lower quality conventional oil. The cost difference between full synthetic oil and conventional can be as much as $80 - $100, which means customers were getting ripped off while the auto shops were profiting. But there’s really no way for a consumer to tell if they’re getting the oil they paid for without having the oil tested at a petroleum lab, which is very expensive. But KXAN was willing to cover the expenses to achieve the story. We paid thousands for oil changes and lab tests to expose the problem. And after we exposed the problem the guilty auto shops stopped what they were doing.
  • “Light, Sweet, Crude: a former US ambassador peddles influence in Afghanistan

    In 2010, Zalmay Khalilzad, former US Ambassador to Iraq and Afghanistan in the George W. Bush administration, tried unsuccessfully to win an oil contract in Afghanistan by wielding his political influence gained through the US-led invasion and occupation on behalf an oil company, Tethys Petroleum, with which he had professional ties and financial stakes. My investigation unearthed damning documentation of his influence peddling not previously made public nor reported upon. It also revealed a source who alleged only to me that Khalilzad paid for inside information, which, if true, could amount to an illegal bribe under Afghanistan’s Hydrocarbons Law and the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
  • Operation Falcon Claw

    The investigation, panning over a year, exposes 11 Members of Parliament from major political parties in India willing to issue letters of recommendation to promote a fictitious Australian oil exploration company in exchange for fees ranging between Rs 50,000 to Rs 50 lakh. The political parties include Congress, BJP, BSP, JDU and AIADMK. Six of these MPs even wrote the letters for a fee. The parliamentarians who are willing to not only write recommendation letters for a fee but also lobby with the Union Ministry of Petroleum for a foreign company to help it secure oil exploration and rigging rights in the Northeast. A total of 11 MPs from the Congress Party, BJP, JDU, AIADMK and BSP are on camera willing to help an oil exploration company to set up shop in India. However, none of them bothered to check the antecedents of the company or check if the company was real. What they hankered after was money, quoting as low as Rs. 50,000 to a mind boggling Rs. 50 lakh as the price for a letter of recommendation, delivered all in cash; one MP even had the audacity to demand that his fee be delivered through a hawala operator. Six MPs issued letters of recommendation to Cobrapost. Cobrapost reporter Ashish Jadon approached these MPs as a representative of fake foreign oil company, Mediterranean Oil Inc. of Queensland, Australia. He had already prepared a functional website, printed a modest brochure, and carried with him a few copies of the company profile. Our reporter introduced himself as a consultant working for Mediterranean Oil Inc. entrusted with the onerous task of rallying support from MPs across the political spectrum for its oil exploration bid in the Northeast, pegging the project at Rs. 1000 crore. He requested the MPs he met to write a recommendation letter. Their recommendation letter will help boost the profile of his company and assist the company in being awarded with oil exploration rights in the Northeast India. To our surprise, far from being turned down, which should have been the ideal case, all parliamentarians agreed to help. If some of them wrote letters of recommendation addressing the Joint Secretary with the Petroleum Ministry, others offered to either lobby directly with the ministry mandarins or get the project sanctioned with help from the most mighty among the ruling party.
  • The Fracking Boom: Missing Answers

    Is hydraulic fracking for natural gas safe? That’s one of the big questions surrounding America’s fracking boom. Homeowners with these gas wells literally in their backyards have complained of contaminated drinking water wells and noxious fumes. The natural gas industry has said that except for the occasional accident, fracking is not to blame. The American Petroleum Institute, the trade group for the natural gas industry, says fracking is safe and there’s no proof that the practice causes significant damage to the environment or human health. In our series, NPR decided to investigate the evidence the industry bases its safety claim on, and we found something astonishing. Despite some 200,000 fracked wells, very little data have been collected and few rigorous studies have been done to show whether fracking is safe, or whether it is dangerous. Not by local officials, state officials, universities or federal agencies. Essentially there is a data void on this issue. The type of scientific work that tied lead, tobacco smoke and smog to health problems, or that exonerated vaccines as the cause of autism, has not been done. With its safety claim, the industry is actively misleading the public into believing its practices have been solidly vetted and found untarnished. As we show in our seven part series, this is far from the truth.
  • The Fracking Boom, Missing Answers

    Is hydraulic fracking for natural gas safe? That’s one of the big questions surrounding America’s fracking boom. Homeowners with these gas wells literally in their backyards have complained of contaminated drinking water wells and noxious fumes. The natural gas industry has said that except for the occasional accident, fracking is not to blame. The American Petroleum Institute, the trade group for the natural gas industry, says fracking is safe and there’s no proof that the practice causes significant damage to the environment or human health. In our series, NPR decided to investigate the evidence the industry bases its safety claim on, and we found something astonishing. Despite some 200,000 fracked wells, very little data have been collected and few rigorous studies have been done to show whether fracking is safe, or whether it is dangerous. Not by local officials, state officials, universities or federal agencies. Essentially there is a data void on this issue. The type of scientific work that tied lead, tobacco smoke and smog to health problems, or that exonerated vaccines as the cause of autism, has not been done. With its safety claim, the industry is actively misleading the public into believing its practices have been solidly vetted and found untarnished. As we show in our seven part series, this is far from the truth.
  • Buying the Election

    “Never Mind the Super PACs: How Big Business Is Buying the Election” investigates previously unreported ways that businesses have taken advantage of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, which overturned a century of campaign finance law and allowed corporations to spend directly on behalf of candidates. The piece debunks a common misperception that businesses have taken advantage of their new political spending powers primarily through so-called Super PACs. In fact, most Super PAC donations have come from extremely wealthy individuals, not corporations. The investigation shows how corporations have instead used a variety of 501(c) nonprofits, primarily 501(c)(6) “trade associations,” to direct substantial corporate money on federal elections. As one prominent advisor to GOP candidates as well as corporations points out, "many corporations will not risk running ads on their own," for fear of the reputational damage, but the trade groups make these ad buys nearly anonymous. In 2010, 501(c)(6) trade associations and 501(c)(4) issue-advocacy groups outspent Super PACs $141 million to $65 million. The investigation shows that the growth of trade association political spending has had a number of significant ramifications, such as increased leverage during beltway lobbying campaigns. Most troublingly, legal loopholes allow foreign interests to use trade associations to directly influence American elections. One of the most significant revelations in the piece was that the American Petroleum Institute, a trade association for the oil and gas industry, had funneled corporate cash to groups that had run hard-hitting campaign ads while being led in part by a lobbyist for the Saudi Arabian government, Tofiq Al-Gabsani. As an API board member, Al-Gabsani was part of the team that directed these efforts, which helped defeat candidates who supported legislation that would move American energy policy away from its focus on fossil fuels. Federal law prevents Al-Gabsani, as a foreign national, from leading a political action committee, or PAC. But nothing in the law stopped him from leading a trade group that made campaign expenditures just as a PAC would.
  • A Hole at the Bottom of the Sea

    The book tells how the government and BP responded to an emergency unlike anything encountered before in the history of petroleum engineering: a blowout in imle-deep water. The book chronicles the 87-day effort to cap the Macondo well after the explosion on the drilling rig Deepwater Horizon.
  • The Tyranny of Oil

    "The hardest-hitting expose of the oil industry in decades answers today's most pressing energy questions: How much oil is left? How far will Big Oil go to get it? And at what cost to the economy, environment, human rights, worker safety, public health, democracy, and America's place in the world?"
  • Giuliani Law Firm Lobbies in Texas for Chavez-Controlled Citgo

    The law firm, Bracewll & Giuliani LLP, owned by Rudolph Giuliani has on its client list Citgo Petroleum Corp. Citgo Petroleum Corp. is owned by the anti-American Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
  • The Ethanol Myth

    Although the Bush administration has been stressing the push for ethanol to replace gasoline, economically it isn't ideal. After numerous tests, Consumer Reports found that a person will get 27 percent lower fuel economy by using E85 as an alternative to gasoline. Drivers will pay more on a per-mile basis, and the fuel-flex vehicles are typically large vehicles, like SUVs, so drivers will have to pay more at the pump regardless of their fuel type.