ProJo Editors Frack it Up, Trust NY Times

Like the ProJo, I’ve actually supported the idea of having an LNG terminal somewhere in the region. But their latest attempt to boost the idea by editorializing against “fracking” of natural gas in shale deposits is misinformed and relies too much on a much criticized, recent NY Times investigative piece. For instance, as the ProJo editorial states:

One problem is that well production in many fields is declining much more rapidly than expected. For instance, wells in the Barnett Shale, underlying Fort Worth, that had been projected to have a 20-30-year life or longer, will become financially unviable in half that time, The Times reported. Indeed many in the industry bank on rising energy costs to keep the industry afloat.

However, as Christopher Helman of Forbes wrote a few days ago:

The shale play that started it all, the Barnett of northern Texas, is today producing more than ever (5.6 billion cubic feet per day) despite there being half as many rigs working the land than there was two years ago (when production was 5.3 bcfd). As analyst Dan Pickering of Tudor, Pickering & Holt wrote in a note this morning, “If wells are declining faster than expected, the Barnett would not be at record production with reduced rig count.”

And so on. Setting this acute issue aside, the real problem is that the ProJo editors appear to be following a real “old media” path here: relying on the New York Times as the “paper of record” when there a multitude of sources available–with just a couple mouse-clicks and a search engine–that would help add some nuance and additional perspectives to the story.

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Mike Cappelli
Mike Cappelli
10 years ago

Here’s a recent Wall Street Journal (6/25/11) editorial on the subject:
online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303936704576398462932810874.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

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