Business: Sorry, No Smut

Tempest in an oil barrel

Had three of the world's largest and richest oil companies been caught cheating a major OPEC oil-producing nation out of $6.1 billion? Or was it simply that the OPEC producer was attempting to blame the oil companies for the missing money in order to cover up its own administrative incompetence?

For a briefly tantalizing moment last week, those were the questions being asked in the world of Big Oil. Breathless dispatches out of Lagos, Nigeria, hinted at an erupting major scandal. On one side were the Royal Dutch/Shell Group, Mobil and Gulf Oil. Arrayed against them was the...

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