The Smear Campaign Continues

Today, Mr. Kenneth Boehm, Chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, wrote an e-mail to Arthur Brisbane,The New York Times Public Editor, in which he made false and unsubstantiated statements about my professional work and conduct:

Mr. Boehm,

I demand a public correction and apology for the unethical, un-researched and un-investigated statements that you made about my professional activities and positions in your e-mail to Arthur Brisbane, Public Editor of The New York Times, and that are now reproduced on the NLPC website.

“Arthur Berman makes his living providing investment advice based upon his own position as a shale gas critic.”

Your reference is to a news report on a technical talk that I gave pro bono two years ago that in no way supports your claim that I make my living providing investment advice.

In fact, I do not.

I am a petroleum geologist and have spent all of my thirty-three year career making maps, interpreting subsurface data, evaluating drilling prospects and advising clients on the technical risks of petroleum systems. I am a licensed geoscientist in the State of Texas and have held numerous unpaid positions as an officer in professional geological societies.

I have no experience as a financial advisor and have never given any client investment advice as you claim.

I have no position as a shale gas critic. I evaluate a broad spectrum of oil and gas opportunities in my work and have no bias toward any of them. If the petroleum system risk, reserve, rates and economics of a prospect or play do not meet threshold criteria, I provide this interpretation.

The fact that shale gas plays fail to meet these standard criteria does not make me a shale gas critic but, rather, an honest broker of objective data.

“The truth is that Mr. Berman is a very lonely proponent of this view. As much as he has tried for over three years, he has garnered virtually no scientific support.”

Your reference is to a technical report that I published in World Oil, a respected industry journal (re-printed on my blog) that it no way supports your comments.

I suggest that you poll the thousands of technical professionals in the oil and gas business who have filled my invited pro bono technical presentations at professional societies all over the country for many years. Any rudimentary research would reveal that my publications and public lectures cover a spectrum of petroleum subjects of which shale gas is only part. Perhaps you should poll my many clients about the degree to which they find scientific merit in my work.

“In these emails, Mr. Berman appears to be corresponding with, among others, investors who missed out on the boom in shale gas and stand to gain, financially, from a devaluation of the natural gas industry.”

You provide no reference for this ridiculous statement so it is obviously nothing more than unethical conjecture to support a bias that you appear eager to forward.

“Mr. Berman offers his views regularly to media outlets which service the investment community, consistently espousing views supportive of short sellers.”

Your reference is to a blog by someone who I have never heard of who apparently heard a presentation that I made and summarized my conclusions. I never gave this person an interview and have no idea about his business. Your reference does not support your specious speculation.

I have no interest in or knowledge of short sellers. My business is geology not finance. I have never taken a short position and, frankly, would have to ask how to do it.

I called you today to discuss these and other matters but, since you did not give me the courtesy of a return call, I must write my comments.

Your written comments to Mr. Brisbane are in direct violation of the NLPC’s stated purpose:

“NLPC promotes ethics in public life through research, investigation, education and legal action.”

Your statements reflect a profound lack of ethics, research or investigation.

I have no interest in defending or otherwise taking the side of The New York Times about its article on shale gas. I do have deep interest in preventing people from making false and damaging statements about me while pursuing some agenda also outside of my interest.

I look forward to a swift rectification of your incorrect and unsubstantiated statements.


Arthur E. Berman


  • Arthur, there is one good thing about this smear campaign: it has completely convinced me that the whole story of the great abundance of shale gas is a fabricated lie. It is a bubble that will soon explode. Otherwise, they would not be so afraid of criticism.

    So, you did a great job: even though you are taking some flak. It happens when one says inconvenient truths in public. It will pass.

  • Anonymous

    Ken Boehm, whose group is receives a large amount of its funding from the Scaife Family Foundation, is closely associated with conservative causes. In the article Mr. Boehm takes issue with is pictured Aubrey McClendon – who lost a huge amount of his personal fortune in Chesapeake Energy back in 2008. The trial involving the move of the Seattle Sonics to OKC showed that McClendon (as one of the major investors in Clay Bennett’s group) never intended to keep the NBA franchise in Seattle via an email that was shown. McClendon (who obtained a great deal of his personal wealth via marriage) was so broke in 2008 that he was forced to auction his personal wine collection because of margin calls.

    McClendon is also part of the Swift Boat Campaign, Boehm, Scaife & others have been involved in long-term attacks on the Clintons, Democrats, and anyone they view as left-leaning.

    No surprise they went after a oil industry consultant that didn’t sing the chorus that was expected of them.

  • Steve

    Guess we have a long long wait ahead of us Ugo Badi. No sign of a bubble much less an exploding bubble. Seems that natural gas is now so abundant that the price has dropped significantly. So low that many wells are being shut down.

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