The Thread Needler

Fracking: Oil and Gas Companies Lie to Midwesterners

Oil and gas companies will always lie to increase profits.

Why wouldn’t they? Milton Friedman said that a business’ only responsibility is to its shareholders. So, if lying will increase shareholder value, oil and gas companies will lie. | Oil Company Document Instructs Agents to Mislead Landowners About Drilling Dangers: It appears that increased community awareness is making it harder for oil and gas companies to convince people to let them drill on their land — so the industry is pushing ahead and trying to secure as many rights as quickly as possible. Through a tipster, TreeHugger has obtained a document that appears to be an oil company’s ‘talking points’ guide for its salesman to use in order to convince landowners that they should let said corporation drill on their land. Entitled ‘Talking Points for Selling and Gas Lease Rights’, the document implores its ‘Field Agents’ to mislead people about the risks of drilling, to omit important facts, and even, on occasion, to outright lie.

Again, it’s important to note that TreeHugger has not confirmed the authenticity of the document, nor have we identified which oil company it belongs to. Nonetheless, if real (as it certainly appears to be), it offers yet another window into the unscrupulous practices of an industry with a long legacy of bending the truth.

The document focuses on sales technique, instructing the salesman to tailor his pitch to the political sensibilities of the person in question, which is nothing notable. It stresses the following right off the bat:

“Oil and Gas exploration and drilling is meeting increasing resistance from local community groups, so it is essential to contact land holders and acquire signatures before sentiment by environmental and other public organizations limits our ability to obtain access to private land for oil and gas development. Remember, if at all possible try not to deliberately mislead the landowner, that only makes our position harder to defend at a later date … Do not discuss the detracting points of view in a manner that gives them any credibility.”

“If at all possible try” not to lie. That’s some strong anti-lying language, there.


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