Monday, June 27, 2011

Updated Associated Press Runs Polar Opposite Story to NYT: Marcellus Shale Gas Production Better Than Expected

While the NYT on sunday ran its now expected tabloid, sensationalist story declaring shale gas to be a ponzi scheme, the Associated Press ran a story by Michael Rubinkam that said this:
          "The result is that the Marcellus...has turned out to be an even more prolific source
           of gas than anyone anticipated.  Energy firms are boosting their production
           targets, not only because new wells are coming on line but also because they're
           managing to coax more gas from each well."

Please read the whole AP story.  It is in tons of papers around the country.  Just google: "Associated Press Gushers Marcellus Potential." 

So the NYT reporter that wrote a discredited story saying falsely that Pennsylvania's waters were possibly poisoned with radionuclides declares shale gas a ponzi scheme on the same day the AP publishes a story documenting that Marcellus shale production is exceeding expectations.

The scandal remains the NYT reporter who has a track record of sensational, false stories designed to attack natural gas that sacrifice fairness and truth.


  1. If you read many of the documents that NYT includes on its feature story as proof that shale gas is overinflated, you find emailed opinions, not facts. Many of these are also from the 2007-2009 timeframe when the Marcellus exploration was in its nascent phase. Ian Urbina of NYT obviously hates shale gas, is supported by his editorial board, and will cast whatever stones he can in an attempt to derail this boom.

  2. FYI the link you have to the AP story is no longer valid - can you update?

  3. Concerned ScientistJune 27, 2011 at 9:56 AM

    Right On Carbon Black. This is exactly right.

  4. I am confused.

    The NYT article was about the very rapid decline curves for shale gas and the possible incorrect reporting of reserves.

    The AP article is about two wells, drilled by Cabot, a company Mr Hanger has referred to as just an awful Company (for the damage it caused Dimock). These two wells, according to, apparently, the driller, Cabot produce a lot of initial gas.

    So what? We know that the Initial Production declines very fast. We also know that, thanks to Mr. Hanger's work Cos. now have to report production every 6 months and so the I.P. report cannot be official.

    Since neither Mr Hanger nor the AP article writer refer to sources for the "enormous production from these two wells, we can reasonably assume that the "facts" reported are directly from the "just horrible driller" Cabot.

    Is Cabot just hyping its business; is the AP report a boiler plate FAX that came from Cabot?

    The world is waiting to hear some real facts as opposed to these possibly, with all due respect, phony facts.

    Stanley R Scobie,Ph.D., Binghamton, NY

  5. Carbon Black, you factually challenged. Most of the documents are from the last 18 months, and those that are not do little to support your assumptions.

  6. I agree with Anonymous above. It's apples and oranges, really.

    However, on balance, I can't imagine that deep shale won't ultimately make lots of money. If only because energy is only going to become more and more dear. If the economics are bad now, that will change.

    That said, I don't think that's anything to crow about. Cancer incidence is going to go up. Our 100 year old forest is going to lose much of the ground it's gained post-timber and many, many water supplies will be permanently lost. None of this is good news.

    So even if the drillers experience a dip in earnings, money will be made. Lots of it. And it's going to come it heavily socialized costs that won't show up on the drillers' balance sheets in the least.

  7. Lets see now! Exxon just invested $42 Billion in a ponze scheme, I dont think so! Who do you think knows more about shale gas, the NYT or Exxon?

  8. Concerned ScientistJune 27, 2011 at 2:03 PM


    You state this as a fact:

    Cancer incidence is going to go up.

    Can you cite a single case of cancer due to shale gas drilling? There is absolutely no evidence that this is true.

    You also state this as a fact:

    many, many water supplies will be permanently lost.

    How many is many, many? Can you name one water supply that is "permanently lost" as a result of Marcellus drilling?

    These claims were stated as facts but there is little to support them. These ideas have become conventional wisdom due to poor and misleading media coverage but they have no basis in fact.

    The forest question is relative. Natural gas drilling would affect about 1% of forested land in areas where drilling occurred. Would you support a ban on fracking natural gas wells? If you do, then you essentially would support an end to natural gas as a source of energy as 90% of our gas wells are now hydraulically fractured. What would you suggest people do for heat if they can't use gas? I have heard people who oppose natural gas saying that we should use wood. A quick back of the envelope calculation reveals that all of our forests would be clear cut in a few years if people who have gas heat switched to wood. That would be 100% of of the forested land. Just something to ponder. You can't judge shale gas without saying what you would do instead.

  9. Concerned Scientist... since you post anonymously, this is likely to be the first and last time I reply, but here you go. You won't be satisfied, but it's as much attention as I think these comments merit:

    Cancer, in general, is up around the world because we are constantly and ceaselessly using nasty industrial chemicals throughout the environment and releasing them into air and water with little thought to anything but profits. Hydrofracking is the latest way to indiscriminately expose innocent people and even more innocent flora and fauna to toxics like benzene, hydochloric acid and arsenic.

    Fracking fluid is dumped on dirt roads and they call it dust control. Spills happen all the time. Whole streams have died and no one can figure out just who did it, but they are dead. If you seriously think these realities won't have long term consequences for our water supply, I don't know what to say to you.

  10. Brady:

    I am not aware of one stream that is dead as a result of gas drilling. 5,000 miles of streams are dead in Pa from coal mine acidic discharges. 1200 miles of streams have been buried in WVA and Kentucky from the rocks blown up by mountain top removal mining. I am aware of less than 5 small fish kills due to spills at surface that have been caused by drilling. I would very much like to know where a stream is that has been killed by drilling.

    Cancer rates in the USA are not uniformly up. Most cancers in the USA are down (not all) and several sharply down. This is good news and does reflect better environmental regulation, less smoking, and so on.

    The biggest source of toxics from the power plant sector--by far--is coal fired power plants that are responsible for 90% of toxics. Gas and renewables and energy efficiency are closing old coal fired power plants. That too will prevent a lot of human illness, with EPA saying that power plant pollution kills each year 17,000 people at least.

  11. John,
    I'm 100% with you on the problem of coal. I'm just not supportive of gas and completely unconvinced it's a smart way forward. That said, it is the way we are going forward, of course I know that, but I don't see what the risk is in tightening up the rules pretty seriously and putting more people on the job of enforcing them.

    Beyond that, it makes me very uncomfortable that this industry has fought so fiercely against chemical disclosure. It certainly seems like they have a pretty dirty secret to hide.

    Anyway, these guys believe they've found a dead stream:

  12. Brady: Read what you wrote again: "Cancer, in general, is up around the world because we are constantly and ceaselessly using nasty industrial chemicals throughout the environment and releasing them into air and water with little thought to anything but profits."

    The truth is that emissions (link here is for air, but water discharges have had similar declines) are down significantly over the last 4 decades, even according to EPA - SO2 down 63%; CO down 62%; VOCs down 54%, etc:

    It seems like you might be justifying your cause and the positions of your employer (Clean Water Action) by making up things. The reality is that handling of chemicals is much more protective of the environment than it ever has been - whether within industry or at private homes.

  13. I am still confused.

    The Blog is about an AP article about a couple of wells in PA.

    Damm near all the comments are about "coal is bad, gas is, well, not so bad."

    So what?

    The fundamental energy problem issue in the U.S. and for that matter the rest of the world is just not about coal v gas.

    If you get distracted by that you will have the energy companies and others stealing the store out the back door while y'all argue out front.

    John Hanger should know better;the rest of us have some excuses. Me, I have a lot of letters after my name. Sigh.

    Stanley R Scobie, Ph.D., Binghamton, NY

  14. Stanley:

    I think I do know better. That is why I led Pennsylvania's successful efforts to build 16 operating wind farms, with another 4 wind farms under construction now, operate or have under construction 6,000 solar facilities, 50 biodigesters on farms, 43 landfills capturing methane and converting to electricity, and passing in 2008 Act 129, one of the five biggest electricity conservation programs in the USA. But even if one counts corn ethanol and large hydro, renewable energy will be doing well to provide 20% of total US energy in 2020. So where do you want to get the other 80% in 2020 or 89% of energy from now. Coal, oil, gas or nuclear? As we accelerate deployment of renewables to get to 20%, where is the other energy going to come from? If you don't like gas, that means you are choosing coal, oil, nuclear. But new nuclear takes at least 10 years to build and will only get built if the national government completely pays for it, as a result of the high up front capital costs, to say nothing about the waste issue. I also live in the Three Mile Island evacuation area. I can bet you the people at Fukushima wish now the power plants in their neighborhood had been gas right when the earthquake hit. So what is going to supply the other 80% from now until 2020 and then what will provide the 70% or 60%? Gas and arguably nuclear will do less damage to the environment than coal or oil. The reality is not always perfect.

  15. The June 25th NY Times did an alarming article about the economics of the gas drilling in NW Pennsylvania called:"Insiders Sound an Alarm Amid a Natural Gas Rush." According to Ian Urbina's article the whole gas drilling frenzy... might be a scam. Unfortunately the state of Pennsylvania is already thinking up ways to get their share of revenue prior to dollar one of profit! It would seem that our State Representatives of PA and Governor Corbett, should call for some serious investigations into the allegations of this article, prior to banking on gas money to bail us out. It maybe cheap sensationalism by the NY Times or we may be into the biggest scams in history.

  16. Anonymous (the 10:46 variety): If you are anywhere near Washington County, PA, take a drive there, getting off I-79 at the Southpointe exit. Wander through the office park and see how many company headquarters you observe who are in the natural gas business. I assure you that there is no scam here....and no need for a state investigation.