June 08, 2012

Slippery Slide of Chesapeake

There is much to read between the lines in the Reuters article on June 8 by Michael Erman on the sale of Chesapeake Energy Corp's pipeline assets for more than $4 billion

Is this company the sunset cowboy on the trail pushing to that illusive gold rush win?  I think so.   Because corporations like Chesapeake have billions at stake, there is no money to be made for profit when things move slowly - the finance clock is ticking.  The incredible speed of deals made long before anyone really understood the nature of gas drilling by fracking has hit the wall.  The states are slowly but surely empowered by science and (sadly) devastating experiences like Dimock PA to slow down this "gold rush" mentality.  Vermont got it.  NY is getting it.  With the current Chesapeake experience, Americans are able to see the true nature of this gas rush.  It is not for our benefit - that path is clear.
Chesapeake is under pressure to sell assets and cut spending to reduce debt after tumbling natural gas prices have pinched profits.
When the action of a sale of a lease becomes more valuable than any realization of production or manufacture, was it ever a viable, solid business plan in the first place?  Hot Potato Lease financial schemes have failed before and so close in our economic history!  Can you say mortgage and credit default swaps?  The only difference with the gas drilling leased lands is that towns will not just have vacant houses if it all becomes a broken scheme.  The environment has suffered dearly as the giants continue to tell us we "need this shale gas".  Some areas will take hundreds of years to recover if they can recover at all.  Unlike a bad house deal where it gets resold eventually, when the water, air and land are destroyed they are gone.  Period. 

The sweater is unraveling and the industry knows it well.  A year ago we did not see many commercials or billboards toting the "beauty of clean natural gas energy".  Now we are barraged with constant ads and maneuvering as the major players push to make us believe we have to have more....  we have to have shale gas.  The push is on strong and heavy to move this economy to a higher level of natural gas dependency: appliances, cars, heating - you name it.   And yet other countries have seen the writing on the wall of the dependency on fossil fuels.  Many are moving forward with developing renewable energies like Saudi Arabia with solar power development.  The old ways must change - and high speed and toxic drilling is not a change - it's desperation.

So, Mr/Ms Shareholder - when you are at the meeting later this week for Chesapeake, I hope you will give 'em hell.  We cannot continue a business plan that will sacrifice the very core of our country solely  for  purpose of a $$ return on an investment!   It will not succeed because no one will be safe from the long term negative consequences.   The line is in the sand - or should I say the river - and we cannot cross it with the current boat. 

There are better ways to develop energy.  We can do better so that everyone will thrive and survive.  




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