terralliance.bmpTurns out, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the respected Silicon Valley venture firm that preached the need for a green-friendly investment and energy policy, has been secretly investing in an oil exploration company.

The New York Times has the story here, pointing to the Silicon Valley firm’s investment in Terralliance, a company that says it helps reduce the cost of oil exploration.

The Times gives few details about the company. Kleiner partner Joe Lacob tells the Times that the company’s technology was kept quiet because Kleiner didn’t want to tip off competitors. He also has good spin: Companies that reduce waste associated with traditional drilling are making a contribution, he says: “If we can improve the efficiencies of the oil and gas exploration, in some ways that’s a green message as well.”

That is, in fact true. However, by making exploration more efficient, it does mean quicker and more prolific greenhouse gas emissions — which appears to contradict the passionate marketing message by the firm’s leading partner, John Doerr. Doerr has used slides from Al Gore during multiple talks at conferences to warn how global warming could devastate the earth, by melting polar ice and causing ocean levels to submerge New York City or Silicon Valley. However, the details of Kleiner’s investment are still murky. We’ve requested comment from John Doerr for his side of the story, and will update when we hear back.

The Times has a good interview with another investor, Erik Straser, who provides the more consistent line that he’ll invest in anything that maximizes profits of his investors.

Our records show that Kleiner and other investors poured $35.2 million into Terralliance last year. It is based in Newport Beach, Calif. Horizon Technology Finance appears to have made a loan of $14.5 million to Terralliance. The company has an Asian headquarters in Kuala Lumpur. Another mention of the company is here.

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