MDN Weekly Update – Mar 25, 2012: Inflated Reserve Estimates

mockingjay pinThe most read story on MDN over the past seven days was about estimates of how much natural gas the Marcellus contains—and for good reason.

Last year the New York Times started a riff about how evil natural gas is. One of themes from the Times has been that the amount of shale gas in general that is recoverable (“proven reserves”) has been vastly overstated by the energy industry (see this MDN story). The Times, and most recently Rolling Stone (see this MDN story), have tried to make the case that shale gas drillers know there’s not as much recoverable shale gas as they state on their balance sheets and that they intentionally overstate how much gas there is to attract more investment and drive up the stock price for their companies. The Times and Rolling Stone claim the situation is akin to a Ponzi scheme, a house of cards that will at some point come tumbling down.

There’s just one small problem with that particular bit of fiction: a glut of new natural gas that’s hit the market and has driven the commodity price of natural gas to 10-year price lows. If the gas really isn’t there, why is there so much of it flooding the market?

Which brings us to this week’s poll question: Are drillers intentionally overstating how much shale gas there is to drive up the value of their companies and attract investors? What’s your opinion? Head on over to the right side of any page and register your vote.

poll resultsLast Week’s Poll Results

Last week MDN wanted to know if you were surprised that the EPA found no water problems caused by fracking in Dimock, PA. And no surprise here: Most MDN readers were not surprised.

Were you surprised the EPA found no water problems from drilling in Dimock?

No (82%, 197 Votes)
Yes (18%, 43 Votes)

Total Voters: 240

Marcellus and Utica Shale Databook 2012

Thank you to the many MDN readers who have already purchased the “Marcellus and Utica Shale Databook 2012.” The Databook is a 116-page comprehensive guide to drilling in the Marcellus and Utica Shale. Chock full of maps showing where permits have been issued, including details on drillers, pipelines and regulations, this new publication is indispensable if you have an interest in shale drilling in the Marcellus and Utica. For more details, including sample pages, visit:

Below are the most recent “top 5” lists and the calendar of Marcellus-related events for the next two weeks.

May the odds be ever in your favor,
Jim Willis, Editor

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