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Subject:  Ponzi Baby Ponzi! Date:  3/6/2012  12:56 AM
Author:  WatchingTheHerd Number:  386870 of 501106

(also posted at: http://watchingtheherd.blogspot.com/2012/03/ponzi-baby-ponzi... )

The March 15, 2012 issue of Rolling Stone features a story by Jeff Goodell called The Fracking Bubble (see #1) that documents numerous issues of interest to citizens and investors alike.

Everyone has seen the ads run by "America's Natural Gas Alliance" which present new technologies for natural gas drilling as the solution to America's problems... At least for the next 100 years.

This RS story sheds light on the man behind that "Alliance", Aubrey McClendon, the CEO of Chesapeake Energy, interestingly located in Oklahoma City and one of the firms profiting the most from the gas boom (no pun intended) in America.

There's certainly nothing wrong with a CEO talking his book and funding ads to sell his side of the story to the public. However, the RS article points out major problems with that story, many of which are already familiar to people who understand what fracking is and what it has done to water quality where it has been pursued.

But that's not what's interesting about the RS story. The real eye openers involve an analysis of how many of the firms in this modern "energy" industry are actually making money and what the real energy results are from the drilling.


ENERGY OR LAND?

Per the RS story, Chesapeake Energy is making the vast majority of its profits not from selling the oil and gas it drills, but from the process of flipping the land on which the wells are drilled while nailing down the rights to what's underneath. The RS story quotes a comment McClendon made on a call with Wall Street analysts a few years ago: I can assure you that buying leases for x and selling them for 5x or 10x is a lot more profitable than trying to produce gas at $5 or $6 per million cubic feet.

Virtually everyone except Mr. Short Term Memory can likely spot the problems likely to occur with a firm establishing a blizzard of paper partnerships funded with a blizzard of SIVs and similar financial