Public Radio's BURN: An Energy Journal Reports on the Risks and Rewards of Oil Exploration in Part Two of Series - "The Hunt For Oil"

Hosted by Award-Winning Radio Journalist Alex Chadwick, the Groundbreaking Documentary Special Will Be Broadcast April 20 - 22 on More Than 300 Stations Nationwide

LOS ANGELES, April 19, 2012 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- In the next edition of Public Radio's and SoundVision PRODUCTIONS' ©  BURN: An Energy Journal- "The Hunt For Oil," host Alex Chadwick tackles one of the most important energy questions facing America: Are we running out of oil?   With gas prices spiking and political debate raging on the subject in this Presidential Election year, it's not an easy question to answer, and Chadwick travels to some of the country's most important petroleum exploration sites in an effort to understand what's at stake.  "The Hunt for Oil" captures not only the extreme risks and rewards of oil exploration, but also illuminates important issues through small, intimate, "human-scale" stories.


"The Hunt for Oil" will be broadcast nationwide April 20 – 22.  The hour-long program, the second in a four-part series, is pegged to the second anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20 – the worst oil spill in U.S history - as well as Earth Day on April 22.  It will be one the most widely carried specials in the history of Public Radio, broadcast on more than 300 stations across the country.

Among the stories being presented in "The Hunt for Oil" are two powerfully insightful segments that capture not only the extreme risks and rewards of oil exploration, but also epitomize Public Radio's journalistic philosophy of illuminating the important issues of our times by telling "the smallest, most personal stories possible."  Those segments are:

Prospecting for Oil - We all know the big names in oil and gas such as Chevron, Exxon-Mobil and BP, but in the United States, 85 percent of the oil and gas wells are drilled by small independent operators, like Wolverine Gas and Oil Corporation.  In 2003, Wolverine owner Sid Jansma played a hunch – he bought a non-producing oil lease in Utah for $160,000 – that turned into a 10-billion-dollar petroleum jackpot known as the Covenant Oil Field, the largest onshore oil discovery in the United States in 30 years.  Chadwick visits the Covenant Oil Field with Jansma to talk about the uncertain business of oil exploration and the little-known story behind his astonishing, 100-million-barrel discovery.

Life at the End of the Pipeline - Roxana, Illinois (population 1,542) sits at the end of the existing Keystone pipeline.  Yes, there already is a Keystone pipeline – among the longest petroleum pipelines in the country.  It is not to be confused with the proposed extension, called Keystone XL that currently has the oil industry, environmentalists, the Congress and the Obama administration at odds.  Roxana hosts an oil refinery, which for decades has also been fed by older pipelines from elsewhere in the country.  In 1986, one of those pipelines broke, and Roxana has been living with the consequences ever since. Property values have gone down, and people have gotten sick, alleging that benzene – a toxic component of crude oil - deposited by the spill caused their illnesses.  BURN Reporter Scott Carrier travels to Illinois to report on life in this village at the end of a pipeline.

Other segments of "The Hunt for Oil" include: Where Did the Oil Go?  - Chadwick revisits the Gulf of Mexico two years after the Deepwater Horizon accident that killed 11 men and threatened the fragile ecosystems of the Mississippi Delta, and explores the lessons learned from the worst maritime oil spill in history; Assessing Risk – Gwen Thompkins reports from the Gulf Coast on the issue of seafood safety and examines how the FDA assessed the risk when it made the economically costly decision to close down the Gulf's fisheries; and Gas Pump Confessions: Understanding Oil Pricing - Chadwick travels to the San Francisco Bay Area to talk gas pricing with customers at the pump.  Accompanying the host in this gas station conversation is Richard Sears, a visiting scientist at Stanford and former oil executive who was chief scientific advisor on the federal commission that investigated the Deepwater Horizon disaster.  Sears analyzes the consumers' responses and considers the legacy of the Gulf oil spill.

BURN: An Energy Journal is produced by Peabody Award-winning SoundVision PRODUCTIONS © in partnership with American Pubic Media's Marketplace and with a grant from the National Science FoundationThe BURN radio specials are distributed by American Public Media.

Preview segments from "The Hunt for Oil" will be aired on Marketplace the week before the broadcast.  Additional BURN stories on a variety of energy issues also will be broadcast throughout the summer on Marketplace, leading up to two more one-hour specials in the Fall. 

For media inquiries, contact Scott Busby at or 310.475.2914.  For more information about BURN: An Energy Journal, go to our website or contact Managing Producer Mary Beth Kirchner at

Media Contact:

Scott Busby The Busby Group, 310.600.7645,

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SOURCE The Busby Group



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