The Independent Petroleum Association of America has a pretty good point-by-point takedown of the New York Times's piece over the weekend suggesting that the American natural gas industry is an Enron-style fraud. My favorite part of the IPAA critique is the light it shines on the Times's sources. From the Times:
"This kind of data is making it harder and harder to deny that the shale gas revolution is being oversold," said Art Berman, a Houston-based geologist who worked for two decades at Amoco and has been one of the most vocal skeptics of shale gas economics.
From the IPAA:
Consistent with his view that the world will soon run out of oil and natural gas, Berman has put himself on record, as recently as this spring, in support of a ban on the use of cars and trucks: "The other piece that nobody wants to hear is that we can't go on living like we are. … The idea of private transport needs to go away. The idea that you can just drive yourself anywhere you want to, whenever you want to, and – oh, well the answer is, 'I'll just get an electric car.' No, that's not the answer." (Arthur Berman, Cornell Law School, April 1, 2011; 03:44:50 to 03:45:25)
From the Times:
Deborah Rogers, a member of the advisory committee of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, recalled saying that in a May 2010 conversation with a senior economist at the Reserve, Mine K. Yucel. "We need to take a close look at this right away," she added.
A former stockbroker with Merrill Lynch, Ms. Rogers said she started studying well data from shale companies in October 2009 after attending a speech by the chief executive of Chesapeake, Aubrey K. McClendon. The math was not adding up, Ms. Rogers said. Her research showed that wells were petering out faster than expected.
"These wells are depleting so quickly that the operators are in an expensive game of 'catch-up,' " Ms. Rogers wrote in an e-mail on Nov. 17, 2009, to a petroleum geologist in Houston, who wrote back that he agreed.
"This could have profound consequences for our local economy," she explained in the e-mail.
From the IPAA:
Trick #4: Tell your readers that Deborah Rogers does work for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, but don't mention that she also works for environmental groups that seek to ban hydraulic fracturing — even though most folks might think that's relevant here.
- Urbina quotes Deborah Rogers several times in his story (and even includes her picture), describing her as "a member of the advisory committee of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas." What Urbina fails to mention is that Ms. Rogers is also an active "steering committee member" of the Oil and Gas Accountability Project (OGAP), an activist group that considers natural gas to be a "filthy energy" source, and has actively worked in New York and Pennsylvania to institute bans on hydraulic fracturing.Last year, Ms. Rogers was a featured speaker at OGAP's "People's Oil and Gas Summit" in Pittsburgh, even directing her own anti-shale group in Texas to pitch in as a sponsor for the event. In advocating for her position, Ms. Rogers rarely mentions her involvement with the Federal Reserve Bank – but often mentions her work as an artisanal cheese maker and goat farmer in Fort Worth.