Natural gas reserve numbers under attack

Yet the Times charges that, "In internal e-mails and documents, many industry executives and federal officials have questioned whether some companies are overstating, perhaps intentionally, the amount of gas they can economically produce in a given period… ‘There is now plenty of production data available from the states to show that these wells are nowhere near what these guys are touting,’ an official with a Texas oil and gas company who formerly worked at Enron wrote on Nov. 7 2009 comparing the practices of shale companies to Enron's. ‘I have discussed this numerous times with analysts that are friends of mine — they agree with me and then just shrug their shoulders.’”

The Times warn that, "Some industry experts say they think they are seeing a replay of events from last decade. In 2004, the oil and gas industry faced one of its most embarrassing scandals. After whistle-blowers reported concerns about the size of Royal Dutch/Shell's reserves, the company surprised investors by slashing reserve estimates. ‘I am becoming sick and tired about lying,’ Walter van de Vijver, a senior executive at Royal Dutch/Shell, wrote in a November 2003 e-mail made public shortly after his company's problems came to light. The episode led to the ouster of several of the company's top executives and an investor lawsuit worth more than $350 million, and helped propel the S.E.C. rule change."

Still how strong is the New York Times case? If this is true that the natural gas reserves that we have are not living up to expectations, then why are smart people across the entire industry betting big on shale gas?

The EIA denied the story saying, "June 27, 2011, New York Times article, "Behind Veneer, Doubt on Future of Natural Gas" focuses on the Energy Information Administration's (EIA) consideration of shale gas. EIA was contacted by a Times reporter in advance of the story, and provided a response that described the agency's approach to developing its shale gas projections. Those interested in EIA's views on shale gas, which differ in significant respects from those outlined in the June 27 article, may want to review the EIA response to the inquiry from the Times. Which read...

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