Reuters Investigates

Insight and investigations from our expert reporters

Venezuela’s embarrassment of riches — oil

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Today’s special report, “Pension fund scandal shakes up Venezuelan oil giant,” examines state oil company PDVSA and the problems it has exploiting what are said by OPEC to be the world’s largest known reserves of crude oil.

At the heart of the latest scandal is a Connecticut hedge fund manager named Francisco Illarramendi who has pleaded guilty to multiple counts of wire fraud, securities and investment advisor fraud. Prosecutors say he ran a Ponzi scheme that lost up to half a billion dollars, most of it money that had been entrusted to Illarramendi by PDVSA’s pension fund.

Check out this interactive graphic which shows how Venezuela has taken the top spot in terms of world oil reserves.

This one shows how despite rising estimates of the country’s reserves, PDVSA’s production has actually declined in the decade since Chavez came to power.

Nuclear power in scary places

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Today’s special report “After Japan, what’s the next nuclear weak link?” takes a look at developing countries’ plans for nuclear power. Read the story in PDF format here.

Andrew Neff of IHS Global Insight sums up the issue in this section:

If in a modern, stable democracy, there could be apparently lax regulatory oversight, failure of infrastructure, and a slow response to a crisis from authorities, then it begs the question of how others would handle a similar situation. 

Solar energy vs wildlife

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Sarah McBride reports on brewing battles between environmentalists in her special report: “With solar power, it’s Green vs. Green.”

It turns out the perfect place to build a big solar plant is often also the perfect place for a tortoise or a fox to live. This means developers of large-scale solar plants are running into legal challenges from people who one would expect to be natural allies of alternative energy providers.