14 Dec '11, 7pm

Shale gas ‘profits’ are based on accounting trickery:

When you add up all the costs -- monetary costs, not even environmental -- of fracking for shale gas, it turns out the entire business is horribly unprofitable, reports energy analyst Chris Nelder at SmartPlanet . So why are companies engaged in an unprofitable business if it's also a fairly unneighborly way to pollute the local environment with wastewater, noxious fumes, and earthquakes? One answer to this conundrum is that operators need to keep drilling in order to hold onto their leases. If they don’t actively work the land that they spent the last several years acquiring in a buying frenzy, they lose it. The early operators in these gas formations, or “plays,” aren’t sufficiently well-funded to continue drilling at a loss; they’re simply trying to hold onto their leases long enough to flip them to larger companies at a profit. If this sounds familiar, it's because it'...

Full article: http://www.grist.org/list/2011-12-14-shale-gas-profits-ar...

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