New Study from Gregory FCA and GoMarcellusShale.com Shows Marcellus Shale Continues to Take Hit in Public Opinion
Surprisingly, Marcellus Shale scores better in sentiment in social media than in the traditional press, while dwarfing online buzz of other major shale plays
A recent survey of Marcellus Shale public opinion, conducted by Gregory FCA and GoMarcellusShale.com, reveals that this vital source of domestic clean energy continues to take a public opinion thumping as traditional media reporting turns negative toward development of natural gas in the Appalachian Basin.
The study—which used Nielsen BuzzMetrics to cull more than 45,000 traditional media sources and over 150 million social media sources, including blogs, blog comments, message boards, forums, Facebook and Twitter—shows that the interest in Marcellus Shale by the media and general public is immense, drawing some 56,625 comments over the past year, more than the online and media interest shown in the eight other major shale plays throughout the United States.
While the interest is intense, the public sentiment toward Marcellus Shale development is exceedingly negative, compared to other shale plays. In fact, in traditional media, Marcellus Shale proves to be a lightning rod for negative press reports, with a positive sentiment of only 1.1 on a 10-point scale with five being the most positive sentiment and negative 5 being the lowest sentiment. As a point of comparison, Niobrara and Bakken Shale plays scored positive sentiments in the traditional media over the past year, with 5 and 4.5, respectively. Only the Utica Shale play scored more negative sentiment in traditional media, with a negative 1.5 sentiment in traditional press.
Interestingly, Marcellus Shale showed higher public sentiment in the digital domain, scoring nearly double the positive sentiment in online comments—a positive 2.8 sentiment in social media compared to 1.1 positive sentiment in traditional media.
“Clearly, traditional media has been persuaded by environmental groups as well as broad-based media vehicles—such as the Oscar-nominated documentary ‘Gasland,’” says Keith Mauck, the publisher of GoMarcellusShale.com. “This has had a corrosive effect on the public opinion of Marcellus Shale, penetrating the reporting by mainstream media and tainting their worldview of the issue.”
At the same time, sentiment in user-generated content—social media—is nearly twice as positive than comments and reporting in traditional media.
“That’s an interesting and counterintuitive conclusion, particularly considering that environmental groups are typically savvy social networkers who know how to get their message out online,” says Greg Matusky, President of Gregory FCA, one of the nation’s 50 largest public relations agencies. “It tells me that while the media is decidedly negative, citizens and supporters of natural gas development in the Appalachian Basin have found a place online to voice their support, a place that’s unfiltered by reporters and editors. It also suggests that the industry has not done a good enough job of communicating facts to traditional media.”
Conversely, industry groups may have found an effective way of countermining traditional media reporting.
“The recent New York Times expose comes immediately to mind,” says Matusky. “The article, which reported on groundwater contamination by Marcellus Shale development, was strongly attacked online by industry groups. Our study shows that this kind of rapid response through unfiltered and direct channels can affect public opinion.”
What is not so clear, however, is whether more positive online sentiment will eventually affect traditional media coverage and convince reporters and editors that domestic, clean energy, if developed responsibly, represents a major energy advance for America.
“The stakes are high—as evidenced this month when America went to war arguably over Mideast oil and on the heels of a nuclear disaster in Japan,” says Mauck. “America’s future depends on an effective, long-term energy policy, and public opinion weighs heavily in the direction of that policy, which is why this study is so timely and important for our nation.”
The study, which includes sentiment reporting by energy type, development method, and company players, can be downloaded at http://www.marcellus-shale-public-opinion-report.com/.
Jim, please keep an open mind on this subject. There are problems, just not the major problems all the Powerpoint presentations suggest. A fair amount of the problems they show are either made up to appear different than what they are, are false, or are 2 year old problems that the companies have changed how they do it. Don't get me wrong, I am staying on top of Chesapeake in our area to be aware of what is going on. So far things have been just fine. I'd say the only thing that is bugging me so far would be the back up horns going off all day.....not a big deal at all.
Just a short note, I read some of the 'evidence' in the Dimock area....I can tell you there are folks testifying that in the 1960's-70's as kids they would run to be the first in the school so they could run up to the top floor and light the water fountain on fire. Yes, this has been a problem in Dimock, as well as other areas, for decades. The evidence of truth is there, but you will have to dig for it, not just read blogs and watch PP presentations. Use official sources, like gov't and universities.
On a side note, I just heard that a professor is studying the feasibility of using abandoned mine water to frac with. So far they believe it will work. Now there is someone that truly is a green person, he is figuring out how to use mine water(u know the stuff that leaches out of old mines) so that it won't create an environmental problem on its own, use it for fracing where only 20% of it will come back up, then process it and re-use it again for fracing. Pretty good deal huh?
Craig, you mention that 'you are staying on top of Chesapeake in our area..."
that's what is so bizarre. We as landowners have signed a lease for use of our land and it's resources and we don't know these people and we don't know if they care about our land and our lifestyles. And most of us are dependent on learning about them with what we hear in the news and from our neighbors.
If you went to rent your family home most likely you would do some research over who was planning to live there and collect what you feel would be a good deposit...but when the need exists to have the money to pay the bills some will just look at the money but they still are in a position to do something about a tenant that is neglectful or doing damage. But with the oil companies, we landowners looked at monies some of us have never seen and went even by peer pressure (as the neighbors were also signing and some in droves) and figured...hey, it's a five year lease I can get to know who these people are and learn as we go and spend the money they put down up front. But now we are finding that some of these companies are doing what they can for themselves and we are having to do our homework, our prodding to see what is going on, and hoping that we don't have to fight to get any royalties or monies down the road.
The out of state owners are not seeing those fracking trucks on a daily basis...but those that still live where the wells are now appearing are now learning what should have been more fully disclosed before the signing of the leases...but who would have known what to do in some of these rural areas?
I understand what you are saying, and yes there are cases that this is true. When I signed our first lease, there was no technology for fracing per se in the shales such as the marcellus and utica. I have been learning the geology and such behind the shales as well as the drilling process ever since then,including fracing. I am thankful that the first wells fraced in Pa were not next door to me....that being said, I am grateful that the drillers (with qualified prodding, not wacko environmentalist prodding, from citizens) have changed a lot of their ways for the better. No more open storage of frac fluids, better berming and catch basins at the drill site, multiple wells on one pad to have a much less footprint on the environment, to re-using flowback and possibly recycling 100% of the flowback. I'm sure there are others, but you get my drift. They have been learning and adapting, more and more each day, to what is better for all involved. Lets just keep their feet to the fire and do it right.
About folks and signing leases: One lesson that obviously many never learned in life is the fact that one should completely understand what they are signing when signing a legal document. I feel sorry for a lot of folks, but ya know one has to take responsibility for ones actions. Yes companies have taken advantage of some folks, as some do in any business category....however the consequences are high when dealing with mineral rights. I believe that the net effect of all things drilling is immensely positive.
thanks for the reply Craig, I realize now that many of the folks in Pa. that signed were and are of the 80's age group and some if not all of the children (at least in our case) could not really understand enough to guide our parents in the right decison (though I thought I was doing a good job til I recently learned how to rightfully interpret some of the clauses) and some parents didn't want to include their children (who of course are adults with their own children). I know of at least two or three of those involved in the leasing of some properties in my area have since passed away in the last three years leaving the siblings/spouses dealing with leases and many unanswered questions. I thank GOD that I didn't know what a 'ROW' was and needed to google search it and found this website. It is too late to go back and rehash what should have been with my own lease but I surely can explain and share in these discussions in hopes that I bless another with some wisdom to make a better decision than my parents did though they tried to do their best in all their ways.
Having videos like the one that James posted on page one would have been beneficial to understand prior to the signing of the lease but surely we still couldn't understand fully til we saw the activity in our own towns. Now if we can share with one another and the oil companies start realizing that we rural and city folks are becoming educated in the process then hopefully they will see that they need to be responsible lessees or we will know how to deal more effectively and collectively to get better responses. I have spoke to some oil people and I must say they are like you and I and others who want to do their best job and I feel more comforted to know that there are good employees who work on these drill teams and office staff who will help us to steer us cause they work for some mighty big outfits. I don't know if you read my discussion I started about a need for new contracts that fit the program of leasing rather than making an addendum to fit the contract. Hope you enjoy it.
How do I keep an open mind when both sides of this argument are accusing the other of lying and I admittedly don't know my ass from a hole in the ground when it comes to this high pressure fracing . . .?
Research? How? People in high places and city/town officials get bought to say all sorts of things. I don't trust big business any more than I trust the military/industrial complex.
Now I read someone saying that Gasland used actors? Oyvey! Where does it end?
One thing I DO know is that it does absolutely no good to anybody involved, no matter where he falls (pro or con) to belittle the guy with an opposing view. I don't think you guys are ignorant knuckle draggers merely bent on profit at all costs nor am I some stereotypical fearfull little twirp worried about someone messing up his quiet morning bird watching.
Actually I'm just a guy who has lived a pretty violent and chaotic life who thought he had finally found a bit of peace . . .
Anyway it's Memorial Day . . . so in remembrance of the 1700 guys of the 173rd airborne who bought the farm in Vietnam . . . I pray long and hard their kids don't sell it without a huge amount of thought as to the final outcome.