I spent the better part of last week surrounded by foreigners … which is to be expected because I was in a foreign country, the Netherlands to be precise. Looper Reed has joined First Law International, a consortium of select, highly-rated law firms in over 45 countries, assembled to give businesses in one country, the United States for example, access to counsel in other countries who are a known quantity in terms of their talent and ability to address their legal needs.

The excursion was beneficial for several other reasons, one of which was to remind me of the multitude of benefits that result from the private ownership of minerals.  Mr. and Ms. Royalty Owner, next time you’re mad at your lessee, or the previous owner who reserved half the minerals and the executive rights, remember that if you were in many other producing countries you wouldn’t have standing to be dissatisfied. The government would own the minerals under your land.  And your suffering through the noise, truck traffic, dust and other detritus of a drilling operation wouldn’t be soothed by a fat royalty check.

If you are the operator, your ornery lessor would be your own federal govenment. Imagine control over our oil and gas reserves by those who believe that Uncle Sam knows best in all aspects of our economic life, and to whom fossil fuel production is to be discouraged.   

Second, the hydraulic fracturing debate rages in countries other than the United States. For example, it is banned in many places with the promise of bountiful gas reserves, and where it is allowed there is resistance:

France, where fracturing is legal for geothermal energy but not for gas.  

England, where it is legal but opposed by many.

The Netherlands, where the government supports it but others (according to the NewYork Times) don’t.

Where fracking is banned in those portions of Germany that are likely to be productive.

Today’s musical interlude has nothing to do with gas production, but maybe Irish-American relations is on your mind.