“Following is the last column that I wrote for World Oil. It was to have appeared in the November 2009 issue of the magazine. It was ready to send to the printer when John Royall, President and CEO of Gulf Publishing (the parent company of World Oil) pulled it at the last minute based partly, if not largely, on pressure from Petrohawk Energy, a major participant in the U.S. shale plays. Petrohawk does not deny that a top executive exerted pressure on World Oil. I decided to stop contributing columns to World Oil. On November 5, 2009, John Royall fired World Oil Editor Perry Fischer, but gave no reason. I am grateful for ASPO–USA’s generous offer to publish this article.” Arthur E. Berman
Let me be clear. We do not dispute the volume of gas resources claimed by operators. We do question the reserves that, by definition, must be commercial on a full-cycle economic basis.
The time has come for the companies that operate in the shale plays to show the data that supports their optimistic forecasts for natural gas supply in the US. The economic viability of shale gas is a serious issue with profound implications for capital investment, alternate energy research funding and national policy. To simply say that those that have doubts about shale plays are wrong will no longer satisfy the many intelligent people who follow this debate.
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