Matt Damon's new film on fracking, "Promised Land", is generating some buzz -- though probably not the kind studio execs were hoping for.
Last week, the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation pointed out that in the trailer for film, one of the financial backers listed is Image Nation Abu Dhabi.
Image Nation Abu Dhabi is, in turn, owned by Abu Dhabi Media - a state media company for the United Arab Emirates. The UAE, an OPEC member, is the world's third-largest oil exporter.
For a film that highlights the dangers of fracking -- the controversial process that has unleashed an energy boom in the United States -- this may be problematic, as evidenced by Twitter posts Monday:
Critics contend the UAE is trying to drum up opposition to more U.S. oil production, which could compete with its crude exports.
It's also possible the UAE -- which has financed at least a half-dozen Hollywood films -- overlooked the conflict of interest and simply thought the film was a good investment due to its all-star cast (Oscar winner Frances McDormand and John Krasinski of "The Office fame co-star) and director (Gus Van Sant).
A spokeswoman for Image Nation Abu Dhabi said that while the company gets "supporting funds" from the Abu Dhabi government, it is a "commercially-driven and independently-operated" entity.
A spokeswoman for Participant Media, which arranged financing for the film, said the funding was part of a larger deal with Image Nation Abu Dhabi to invest in 15 to 18 films over a five year time period, "regardless of genre or subject matter."
Either way, the revelation could be a setback for a film on an important U.S. energy topic, and will only give ammunition to critics who say the movie was biased from the get-go.
Those looking for work might consider moving to Lafayette, La.
Lafayette is expected to have the nation's largest gain in jobs among metropolitan areas, thanks to its booming energy sector, according to a new report from IHS Global Insight. Employment is expected to soar 8.8% this year, while the area's economy should jump 7.5%.
Overall, metro economies are expected to grow 1.8% in 2012, slightly trailing the nation. Last year, metro economies MORETami Luhby - Jul 19, 2012 1:15 PM ET
The price of crude oil took a nosedive on Thursday after Reuters reported that President Obama and his British counterpart David Cameron had agreed to a release of strategic oil reserves that would take place within months.
The White House later denied that such an agreement exists, but did say that Obama and Cameron had discussed rising crude prices.
For the United States, such an agreement would mean tapping the Strategic Petroleum MORECharles Riley - Mar 16, 2012 10:52 AM ET
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