Change Coming in MDN Service Availability

important changeDear MDN Reader,

Starting Monday, May 7, I will implement paid access for the Marcellus Drilling News website. If you would give me just a few minutes of your time, I would like to explain why, and how it will work.

First the how: Headlines and the first paragraph will always remain free. However, to read entire articles, it will cost $5.95 per month. Your $5.95 will grant you unlimited access to all articles on the site.

You may pay with credit or debit card, and your card will be billed once each month for $5.95 until you cancel. You may also pay with a Paypal account (but a Paypal account is not required). There will be an obvious “Join Here” link to click that will initiate the process. I’ve tried to make it as simple as possible.

And now for the why: I believe the articles I’m writing on a daily basis have value–a lot of value. I’ve seen subscription services that charge more than $600 per year for the kind of information I’m currently delivering for free. In a perfect world, I would get a boatload of advertisers and/or sponsors that would enable me to keep writing for free–but alas, that perfect world does not exist–at least for MDN.

Let me tell you a bit about what I do each day, and why I think it’s worth a very small $5.95 per month. Every morning between 5:00 am and about 9:00 am I sift the news, looking for stories that impact, or deal with, the Marcellus and/or Utica Shale. I scan, review and read hundreds of stories each morning. What I’m looking for is information that I think landowners, or even non-landowners who want to keep tabs on what’s happening, would want to know about. And I select just those stories of maximum interest and value. Things that make me say, “Ah ha!”

Sometimes a story might be as “mundane” as notification that a driller has started to drill in a particular county. But that story is not mundane to the people living in and around that county. Or to business owners who may want to sell something to that driller. Or to government officials who might not have been aware that drilling has begun. Or to stock and commodities traders who want to know about what the companies they track are doing. Knowing where the action is taking place—who’s drilling, what kind of wells they are drilling and more—is of vital interest to many different people.

Sometimes a story or series of stories might track a particular driller. As I write this, Chesapeake Energy and CEO Aubrey McClendon are under heavy criticism for company debt, McClendon’s personal debt, and somewhat questionable financial practices. If for some reason Chesapeake gets sold, or ends up firing McClendon—that will have profound impacts on landowners with Chesapeake leases. Chesapeake is the second largest natural gas producer in the U.S.!

Sometimes a story will discuss technology, like the new liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) hydraulic fracturing—or “waterless fracking.” How does it work? Who’s using it? Are there advantages or disadvantages over water-based fracking? I answer those kinds of questions.

And sometimes my stories chronicle regulatory issues, like the very sad state of affairs in New York—a state with an abundant supply of Marcellus and Utica Shale gas, but a state mired in a philosophical discussions about whether or not fossil fuels are evil, and whether the extraction of them should be banned altogether. And so for four years the state has not allowed horizontal or “unconventional” drilling, and an end to the moratorium is not yet in sight.

These are complicated issues, and I do my best to break them down and tell you what it all means. Every day I scour the news, pulling out stories and articles to share with you. But I don’t just send you other people’s stories—I extract a quote or few sentences—the very meat of the story, and I link to it in case you want to read the entire article. But in addition to that, I introduce the sections I quote, giving you the background and the context, and I tell you what I think it all means. I go well beyond the news and share my insights and commentary on the news. You get both the news and my insights for the price of one!

Along the way I attempt to inject humor from time to time, and my writing definitely reflects my pro-drilling stance (and often ticks off those who oppose drilling). But I’m never afraid to call attention to the problems, hypocrisy or even the bad actors in the drilling industry. I’ll poke fun at either side if they deserve it.

I’m a strong believer that natural gas can and will create a renaissance in our country—providing jobs, clean energy, and an economic boom like nothing we’ve seen for generations. It is that belief that powers my passion and my writing.

But! (And you knew there would be a “but”.) But I also need to make a living. If you enjoy reading MDN each day, is $5.95 too much to ask to help support it? Do you have 3-4 hours each day to sift the news and read it—and then puzzle it through to make sense of it? In that light, I think MDN at $5.95 per month is a bargain worth many times that amount.

I hope you’ll consider subscribing to MDN starting next week. Feel free to send me an email if there’s a question I’ve left unanswered, or to share your opinion with me (like Willis you’re nuts!).

Once I have a “critical mass” of paying subscribers to the MDN service, new features will come along, but more about that in the future.

Thanks for reading MDN!

Jim Willis
Editor, Marcellus Drilling News
[email protected]