Cabot Petroleum was one of the first movers into the Marcellus and has had the biggest PR disaster by admitting responsibility for the accidental damage to the 19 families on Carter Road in Dimock. What happened in Dimock has been conflated by Gasland and other fracking opponents into some sort of shale Chernobyl,  proof positive that shale is so dangerous that it must be left in the ground. Dimock's fame goes global, mis-informing the shale debate as far away as France:

 Le village de Dimock (Pennsylvanie) est ainsi devenu le symbole des dégâts provoqués par les forages de gaz de schiste.

Right from day one in 2012 we see the continuing importance of  international M+A activity in shale development.  The implications in France of the Total investment in the Utica being seen as a disinvestment in a France will become clearer over time.  France is making the accidental choice between austerity and shale.  Nothing will be solved in France this side of May's presidential elections but solved it will be. The shale ban will come up against reality and the choice will be clear:  No shale = No prosperity. Guess what happens?  

This snippet from Aubrey McClendon ,who is one of the few people who can combine shooting his mouth off and making sense at the same time.

 We believe that the Utica Shale is a world-class asset with world-class returns and now we have a world-class partner to help develop the play more aggressively than we could have with our own resources.

The season for predicting 2012 shouldn't really be the period between Christmas and New Year when no one is in the office or lucid enough to digest forecasts,  it should be the first week of business.  This week, I'll point out a number of smaller trends in shale that I think we should watch out for, but first  we need to think of what is both a mega- and meta- trend.

I have been saying for over two years that shale won't change everything - it's far more important than that.  We can now see how important.  Shale is moving, far more rapidly than even bulls such as I predicted,  from an energy story to an  economic one.