Concerned that the U.S. public "does not understand or appreciate how expensive it is to keep the nation's engines running," the American Petroleum Institute (API), Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell "have reached out to a conservative band of bloggers," reports Reuters. API "paid for seven bloggers" to take two trips in November, one to Houston and Corpus Christi, Texas, and one offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. API required the bloggers to disclose that the industry group had funded the trips, but otherwise "placed no restrictions" on them. API's "new media advisor," Jane Van Ryan, admitted that the bloggers chosen -- for the Texas trip, Ed Morrissey, Bruce McQuain, Brian Westenhaus and the National Association of Manufacturers's Carter Wood -- "have not been particularly critical of the industry." While API's blogger "outreach effort" is new, "reporters who cover the energy industry are often invited by companies to visit offshore drilling rigs or production platforms," notes Reuters. API is currently discussing plans for 2008 junkets.
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