France: Big Stink

Scandal over "sniffer planes "

At issue are two electronic devices, code-named Delta and Omega.

When mounted in an airplane, they were supposed to be able to detect undersea oil deposits from altitudes as high as 21,000 ft. Elf-Aquitaine, France's state-owned petroleum company, spent more than $150 million for research and development on the equipment in the 1970s. Yet no oil was ever found. In fact, there is no evidence that ' the expensive devices worked at all. A Belgian count who sold them to Elf has vanished, along with the money. As a...

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