Oil corruption in the USA

This is a video from CNN in the USA about the sex and drugs scandal in the Minerals Management Service (MMS).

By Kate Randall:

Rampant corruption at US agency responsible for collecting oil royalties

13 September 2008

Reports released by the US Interior Department on Wednesday revealed that employees at the US agency in charge of collecting royalties from energy companies have been involved for years in inappropriate and illegal behavior, including accepting gifts, handing out sweetheart deals and engaging in sex and illegal drug use with oil company employees.

The reports from Interior Department Inspector General Earl E. Devaney detail the activities of employees of an arm of the Minerals Management Service (MMS), the agency that issues lucrative drilling leases to energy companies and collects royalties from the leasing of federally owned land.

MMS takes in up to $10 billion a year in royalty revenue from energy companies, making it one of the US government’s largest non-tax sources of revenue. The revelations of misconduct at the agency come as Congress prepares to lift restrictions on offshore drilling and leading Democrats move closer to an agreement on expansion of the practice.

At the center of the investigation, conducted over two years at a cost of $5.3 million, is the 60-employee Denver, Colorado-based Royalty in Kind (RIK) program, which collects royalty payments made “in kind,” e.g., in oil instead of cash, and then resells the resources on the open market. Energy companies named in the report include Chevron, Shell Oil, Hess Corp. and Gary Williams Energy Corp.

See also here. And here. And here. And here.

Study links oil prices to investor speculation: here.

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