Skip to main content

How do we want to spin this?

Image result for SM Energy

Reuters recently ran a story that begins this way:

"Riverstone Holdings LLC, a private equity firm that focuses on energy and power sectors, said it would sell U.S.-based oil and gas explorer Rock Oil Holdings LLC to SM Energy Co (SM.N) for $980 million in cash."

Surely that sounds boring to most of you, dear readers. 

One point that may make the lede interesting, for observers of the news media, is the choice whereby the story was made to be about Riverstone Holdings, the PE firm. The other two firms are direct and indirect object, "to sell" is the predicate. Riverstone is the subject. [By the way, "lede" is standard journo jargon for "lead paragraph," as distinct from "lead story" for which the standard spelling is retained.] 

Was there an alternative? Of course there was! More than one, surely, but the one that comes immediately to my mind would read, "SM Energy Co is purchasing Rock Oil Holdings LLC from ...." etc. Should this story be about the buyer rather than the seller? 

It might depend on why the transfer of Rock Oil Holdings will be considered an important fact by at least some readers. The big reason, surely, is that Rock Oil possesses close to 25,000 acres in the Permian Basin, in Texas. Presumably the reason why SM Energy is buying is in order to extend its own holdings in that basin, a key part of the geography of the shale oil revolution.

The key reason why Riverstone is selling may be that it believes that revolution, at least in that basin, has already played itself out, so it would rather have the cash.

So which way one coaches the lede graf in that story may have a great deal to do with whether one is an optimist or a pessimist about that continuing significance of that revolution. 




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Story About Coleridge

This is a quote from a memoir by Dorothy Wordsworth, reflecting on a trip she took with two famous poets, her brother, William Wordsworth, and their similarly gifted companion, Samuel Taylor Coleridge.



We sat upon a bench, placed for the sake of one of these views, whence we looked down upon the waterfall, and over the open country ... A lady and gentleman, more expeditious tourists than ourselves, came to the spot; they left us at the seat, and we found them again at another station above the Falls. Coleridge, who is always good-natured enough to enter into conversation with anybody whom he meets in his way, began to talk with the gentleman, who observed that it was a majestic waterfall. Coleridge was delighted with the accuracy of the epithet, particularly as he had been settling in his own mind the precise meaning of the words grand, majestic, sublime, etc., and had discussed the subject with William at some length the day before. “Yes, sir,” says Coleridge, “it is a majestic wate…

Hume's Cutlery

David Hume is renowned for two pieces of cutlery, the guillotine and the fork.

Hume's guillotine is the sharp cut he makes between "is" statements and "ought" statements, to make the point that the former never ground the latter.

His "fork" is the division between what later came to be called "analytic" and "synthetic" statements, with the ominous observation that any books containing statements that cannot be assigned to one or the other prong should be burnt.

Actually, I should acknowledge that there is some dispute as to how well or poorly the dichotomy Hume outlines really maps onto the analytic/synthetic dichotomy. Some writers maintain that Hume meant something quite different and has been hijacked. Personally, I've never seen the alleged difference however hard they've worked to point it out to me.

The guillotine makes for a more dramatic graphic than a mere fork, hence the bit of clip art above.

I'm curious whe…

Cancer Breakthrough

Hopeful news in recent days about an old and dear desideratum: a cure for cancer. Or at least for a cancer, and a nasty one at that.

The news comes about because investors in GlaxoSmithKline are greedy for profits, and has already inspired a bit of deregulation to boot. 

The FDA has paved the road for a speedy review of a new BCMA drug for multiple myeloma, essentially cancer of the bone marrow. This means that the US govt has removed some of the hurdles that would otherwise (by decision of the same govt) face a company trying to proceed with these trials expeditiously. 

This has been done because the Phase I clinical trial results have been very promising. The report I've seen indicates that details of these results will be shared with the world on Dec. 11 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology. 

The European Medicines Agency has also given priority treatment to the drug in question. 

GSK's website identifies the drug at issue as "GSK2857916," althou…