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Investigation urged of crude oil trading

Energy Department investigators are urging a grand jury investigation of possible criminal conduct involving crude oil trading by some of the nation's largest oil companies, it was reported Thursday. The Washington Post said Energy Department investigators say they found evidence of a crude oil trading pattern they believe to be part of a criminal conspiracy to reclassify "old" domestic oil as newly discovered foreign oil, which could command higher prices under federal price controls just lifted by the Reagan administration, it said.

But the paper added the recommendation by a team of professional field investigators in the department's Houston office could be stymied, however, by budget cuts and criticis m by the department's outgoing special counsel.

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