FrackNation vs. Gasland Part II- The Real Story

By: James Asbury
Dateline: Mansfield , PA
July 7, 2013

Gasland Part II played directly across 4th street in The Performing Arts Center from Genetti’s Hotel showing Frack-Nation in Williamsport, PA at the same time on Wednesday, June 19, 2013.

Hours after, the “grassroots” showing of FrackNation and Gasland Part II, HBO associates including their PR people were made available for a sit-down at the Bull Frog Brewery in Williamsport. The Drill’N Man was allowed to ask any questions and got the answers. Paul Harvey used to say on th4e radio: “And now for rest of the story”. And here it is.

Poster Fracknation vs Gasland Part II
Poster Fracknation vs Gasland Part II

Drill’n Man question: “The coincidental nearby location, the fact the films are at the same time, the two films use the same advertisement poster- the local writers taking heat from Fox. Isn’t this all just bull. . . .?”

“Of course it is” replied the PR man connected to HBO.

My question was inspired by the odd coincidence about how could these film makers maintain so much animosity between them while showing films down the street from each other at similar times and locations?

Both films have been able to survive by attacking each other . . . . . . .because it’s planned that way.

The HBO PR person would not give out full names or business cards, but we did find and confirm the fact they worked for HBO and are connected to promoting Gasland Part II.

To get attention requires conflict – Josh Fox refuses to talk to FrackNation creator Phelim McAleer direct in public- Fox denied movie goers, including Phelim, admittance to premiere of Gasland Part II’s at the Tribeca Film Festival in NYC on Sunday, April 21, 2013 at the 3:30 PM showing in the SVA Theater.

The story made major headlines and was shown on major TV news channels as well as discussed on talk radio. A source who attended the Tribeca Film Fest stated it appeared the ruckus, which ensued as soon as the Dimock contingent got off their bus, was staged by Phelim McAleer. Others firmly believe if there had not been any screaming and shouting, there would have been no reason for security to deny them access to the movie. Other pro-hydraulic fracturing attendees entered without any problems into the theater where the Gasland Part II movie was being shown.

But Josh Fox or his people seemed to have more than willing to preview parts of Gasland Part II and work with FrackNation on some level; sharing advertising with the contrasting film in headlines and social media.

Using another HBO success story as an example, the HBO PR man referred to a storyline in HBO’s popular mini-series, Band of Brothers, a WW2 film inspired by the 101st Airborne Easy Company.

“What if the Allies had landed and the Nazis retreated back to Germany without putting up a fight?” he added “Conflict is necessary in a movie. It gives validity to the story line; without conflict, there is no story, no movie”.

Drill’n Man media consulted P.R. marketing agents including Kross – a veteran company who worked on many high profile accounts including presidential campaigns.

“This is highly irregular”- Said Bill, a PR man with Kross. “I can’t see PR people from different campaigns working together. Professionally there is respect; I’ve had lunch with political opponents, even cooperated on some efforts…but no undercover nonsense.”
What we have here is at least one if not two cases of narcissistic Hollywood types going at each other for personal publicity”.

“It’s about money- you must disconnect yourself from the message. You are paid to write promotional stories” said the contact- Films and major corporations are all about making profits.

Gasland and Gasland Part II made and will make millions of dollars. The films must constantly stay relevant when -“Most headlines have at the most a 10 day life span.”
Essentially Gasland II relies on conflict between the tow producers to keep it in the headlines.
“Josh Fox making a killing on this” said the HBO contact, leaning into the conversation for emphasis, with his demanding up $16,000 for a personal appearance where he eventually breaks out and plays his banjo. The source didn’t believe a dime of Fox’s profits would be donated clean up the earth.

FrackNation will air July 10th on AXS TV, the day after Gasland II is scheduled to play on HBO.

“Of course the timing is relevant,” Cuban, an owner of the network told The Hollywood Reporter. “We want people talking and using AXS TV when they watch and discuss it.”

Strange Bedfellows

Both films would have fallen off the radar by non if it were not for the constant bickering and drama between Josh Fox and Phelim McAleer and seem to thrive on confronting each other for validity. Some film goers are naive to think differently. Both pictures use a formula for drama and addiction. Emotionally driven arguments create a dependent audience with fans who know nothing of the industry outside the movies themselves. Facts outside those illustrated by the two filmmakers are lost on the masses.

Industry observers and movie critics of this eerie spectacle are telling Drill’N Man-News “Enough is enough already” and are sick and tired of covering the films as well as the subject in general.

People in the oil and gas industry know their jobs are not going away. Many experts from both sides agree all political figures, no matter their individual ideologies, will consent to drilling for the same reason people make movies – financial gain.

From this story a new movement has emerged. People within the industry say it’s time to bring things back to reality. Some of these pro and con-hydraulic fracturing movies are made by TV people for what they thought was a controversial subject. They would promptly be walked over to the frac’ pit and having to point where the drain plug is located for doing shallow research on the subject of hydraulic fractuting in pre-production.

Those close to Josh Fox and Phelim McAleer expressed to Drill’N Man Media how unhappy they are with their combined lack of oilfield knowledge. The real oilfield story is missing from these films. Sadly Josh Fox and Phelim McAleer are playing patty cake with each other in a mock drama of mediocrity.

The real news is overlooked- news impacting working men and women and our national energy security. While these two globe trotters post videos on YouTube and trying to turn the spotlight on them, the industry continues to make progress.

Let’s move on and get to work to make the US proud and energy secure once again from countries with hostile governments, who are against our way of life.

West Coast Gasoline Pump Prices To Soar Before Memorial Day

Dateline: Terry, Montana
May 10, 2013 – 6 pm MDT
By: Bob van der Valk

This is “The End” for any hope of gasoline prices on the West Coast, specifically Southern California, before Memorial Day. Today’s AAA Fuel Gauge for Los Angeles-Long Beach showed the average gasoline price already over $4 per gallon. The two major oil company refinery upsets in Southern California this afternoon will result in spike for gasoline prices starting on Monday with retail pump prices expected to hit $4.25 per gallon. The remainder of the West Coast including the Bay Area and the Pacific Northwest gasoline prices will follow suit.

The CononoPhillips 76 refinery in Wilmington reported flaring this afternoon. Then the kicker came in the form of the ExxonMobiil refinery suffering a “power bump” putting their Fluid Catalytic Cracker (FCC) unit out of business.

ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance, CA 5-10-13
ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance, CA 5-10-13

Because of it the ExxonMobill was flaring Friday afternoon at its 149,000 b/d refinery in Torrance, Calif., with the shut down of their FCC unit, which had been kept running while other units in the refinery were going through a planned turnaround. Now all of the units at this refinery are down.

The FCC is out of service and the refinery is flaring,

The refinery issued an unplanned flaring notification to the South Coast Air Quality Management this afternoon citing a breakdown. The flaring event began at 2 p.m. PDT and is expected to end before midnight.

ExxonMobil began a large-scale, multi-week turnaround May 3 on Torrance’s lone crude unit, an alkylation unit, a delayed coker unit, a sulfur recovery unit and a hydrotreater.

“Although we anticipate impact to production, ExxonMobil expects to be able to meet its contractual commitments,” a company spokesperson previously said about the planned maintenance.

The fluid catalytic cracker was not involved in the turnaround and had been operating via gasoil feed stored in railcars before a power glitch affected the unit.

Late Friday afternoon David Dumais, deputy fire chief of Torrance Fire Department, confirmed the following by phone.

* Upset occurred during maintenance turnaround,
*Refinery started turnaround this month on units including crude unit, alkylation unit, coker, hydrogen
plant on May 2, 2013.

Any or all of the above article can be re-published with proper attribution to the author and the Bakkken Oil Business Journal.

Feel free to contact me for updated information.

Bob van der Valk
Managing Editor
Bakken Oil Business Journal
Terry, Montana
(406) 853-4251

Are You Mad as Hell with High Gasoline Prices?


Most of us are sick and tired of paying for ever higher gasoline prices blamed on events seemingly out of our control. You may even be saying– “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore”. But what can you do about having some feeling of control over what you pay for this precious commodity important to get to work, do your work, shopping as well as some money left over to visit family?

Average US gasoline prices February 2013
Average US gasoline prices February 2013

We are constantly bombarded with news about riots, protests and even an earthquake or two almost immediately affecting the price for gasoline we pay at the pump. The truth is somewhere between what you hear and the real reasons for those unexpected gasoline price spikes.

What it takes to refine crude oil into gasoline and diesel fuel depends on inventories purchased ahead of time at fixed prices. Meanwhile pump prices are being adjusted on the variations of the spot market prices being quoted by Commodity Exchanges for different types of benchmark crude oils. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil, Brent and Alaska North Slope (ANS) crude oil benchmarks currently rule the market. The Brent crude oil posted on the Intercontinental Commodities exchange (ICE) headquartered in London.

We continue to depend on crude oil imports from overseas countries, which are hostile to our culture and form of capitalism. Domestic major oil companies have available crude oil reserves, which will be able to meet our demands without having to increase our fuel prices immediately. However, they elect to import crude oil instead and utilize the Last In – First Out (LIFO) method to calculate their inventories and set their fuel prices.

One way to beat the oil companies at their own game is to keep track of your fuel economy for your family buggy.

If you are an overachiever with basic math skills, calculating your fuel economy is easy to do. Divide your miles driven since your last fill up by the gallons of the current fill up and there you have it.

Pen and paper for tracking miles per gallon is almost free, and require little more than 30 seconds after you fill up your gasoline. Tracking your fuel economy seems to be in vogue once again since $4 per gallon gasoline prices has hit some parts of our country.

But who the heck wants to do math anymore? You now have smart phones with an app to take care of that work. Just input the miles from your odometer and the amount of fuel you filled up on the “GasHog” app for $1. It will then figure out the miles per gallon for you. In fact, you’ll be able to keep track of historic data and break down your fuel economy and exact cost per mile. You will know exactly how much driving is costing you. . “Mileage” for Android does the same thing for your Droid and other smart phone systems driven by that software.

There are other apps to find the closest gas station to your location. Gas Buddy has an app to let you know fuel prices at gas stations or truck stops nearest to where you are.

Bob with Texaco pump

Entering the information on your smart phone at the time of the fill up will be the hardest thing to remember. If you are in a hurry to get in and out after filling up and forget, the whole process has to start all over again.

Some of you will just go back to knowing your vehicles intuitively and are good enough at math to put a non-zero value on your time.

About The Author – Bob van der Valk is an Independent Petroleum Industry Consultant living in Terry, Montana with over 50 years of experience in the petroleum, gasoline and lubricants industry. He can be contacted at:

Gasoline is Too Damn High!

Jimmy McMillan, who claims to be Irish, has started a new campaign using a variation of his slogan “Rent is too damn high!” in order to lower gasoline prices. It’s comical to watch his YouTube video taken in front of the White House but he makes his point:

Gasoline is too damn high!

His formula: More Drilling = More Gasoline = Lower Gasoline Prices

Consumers are once again being told with gas price stories we see on TV and read in newspapers gas prices are too high and much worse now than they have been in the past. But gasoline consumers have short memories and will forget the details once the pump prices start going lower again.

Sticky Note

Gasoline prices are unlikely to go back down as fast as they went up with the Middle East North Africa unrest continuing, the fallout of the Japanese nuclear plant meltdown not yet determined as well as the constricting requirements by the US Environment Protection Agency creating boutique gasoline in parts of the country with air pollution.

Crude oil is selling for around $96 dollars a barrel but we can all remember when oil was over $100 dollars, even $120 and $140 dollars a barrel not too long ago.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil located in Cushing, OK was the financial benchmark used in the past to set the price for virtually all global oil pricing. At the beginning of this year it was replaced with the Brent crude oil posting on the Intercontinental Exchange of London. The WTI price is now disconnected with crude oil markets and does not represent the “real” price of crude oil.

Cushing is filled to the brim with supply and because it is landlocked and difficult to ship incoming crude further south to the US Gulf Coast refineries. Financially, the WTI contract is good for trading by index investors, ETF’s, energy hedge funds and individual traders, all going long in a market betting on crude prices to go back up.

Is gasoline is too damn high? And what are going to do about it is not as simple as the slogan Jimmy McMillan invented. The answer is we need a National Energy Policy to give us long term security from world events playing havoc with the price we pay at the pump.

Busting the Myth About Oil Company Profits

What can we do to stop commodity speculators from causing the rapid hike in gasoline prices? Arrest them, put them in jail, and try them before a jury before we hang them?

Early last week, President Obama started that ball rolling by telling US Attorney General Eric Holder to stop oil market fraud. Eric Holder promptly announced he was appointing a “working group” focused on rooting out the cases of fraud in the oil markets that might affect gasoline prices. This might work in any other business but the petroleum industry is not going to be simple to control. Continue reading Busting the Myth About Oil Company Profits

B of A New Oil Price Target Suggests $4.25 Gasoline in the US by Memorial Day

While living in The Hague, Holland as a young boy I often wondered what was on the other side of that vast expanse of water known as the North Sea. How could I have known about the vast crude oil reserves lying underneath the angry waters of the North Sea and its eventual exploration by the countries surrounding it? Continue reading B of A New Oil Price Target Suggests $4.25 Gasoline in the US by Memorial Day

Here’s How You Save 40%+ on Your Gasoline Bill

Gasoline prices are as volatile as the 3/1 down on an unapproved rat-race, but what matters more to you is the fact that, over the past 30 days, you’ve seen your gas prices inch up by a dollar… and we can help you with that.

Take, for instance, a 2000 Chevy Venture. I don’t just suggest this beast because it’s my own vehicle, but also because it has a standard stock V-6, and a common motor in the American autoscape. Continue reading Here’s How You Save 40%+ on Your Gasoline Bill

Japan Earthquake Could Test U.S. with $5 Gasoline Prices

The fallout on the fuel market will be severe following the 9.0 Japanese earthquake on Friday, March 11. 2011, since Japan will have to supplement their nuclear energy power production with coal, natural gas and oil-fired power plants. 

Information is short and hard to obtain about the status of the nuclear power plants in Japan.  Not being a nuclear physicist it is hard to sort the facts from the hysteria but going on past history we are being fed pap by official press officials of the Japanese government about the real situation in dealing with this cataclysmic event. These same officials withheld vital information after the 1995 Kobe earthquake, which killed more than 6,000 people. Continue reading Japan Earthquake Could Test U.S. with $5 Gasoline Prices

California Gasoline Pricing Depends on Location of Gas Station

On March 7, 2011 the average price in California for regular gasoline increased 15.5-cents from the previous week. The average statewide price for regular was $3.874.

Following the gasoline margin breakdown for per the California Energy Commission as of March 7, 2011; Continue reading California Gasoline Pricing Depends on Location of Gas Station