Remember Alfred E. Neuman of Mad Magazine fame? He always said, “What me, worry?” That ought to be the motto of anyone in the oil patch with shale assets. The news on the shale front sure outshines anything else we’ve been seeing. With recessionary clouds gathering, the dollar withering on the vine and consumer confidence falling apart, the economy is being battered. Former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan didn’t help when he told the Financial Times that we could be in for the worst recession since the Depression. If we are not in a recession, we are surely spooking ourselves into one. The consumer-spending growth engine that normally fuels our economy has stalled. Now, we learn that the U.S. is not among the top countries in the world in terms of its credit rating. According to Institutional Investor’s semi-annual Country Credit Survey of 174 countries, the U.S. has dropped a notch to unlucky No. 13 in the past six months. Switzerland remains No. 1, unchanged from the last report in September 2007. Western European countries occupy nine of the top ten spots. Canada is in ninth place. Since 1979, the magazine’s ranking has been based on its survey of senior economists and risk analysts. But never mind all that, because in the oil patch, it’s a different story! The great news keeps rolling in. On March 25, Chesapeake Energy Corp. told the market it has cracked the code for significant gas resources in the Haynesville shale play in northern Louisiana, which it says could be its biggest resource play yet. On the news, its stock (and that of operating neighbors with big acreage also, Goodrich Petroleum and Petrohawk Energy), hit new highs. A private Houston independent told me he got a call from a lease broker at 8:30 that night, offering to buy his Cotton Valley and Hosston leases in the area for “an inordinate amount of money.” Seems everybody is now offering big bucks for any held-by-production acreage up there, just to get to the shale underneath. --Leslie Haines, Editor-in-chief, Oil and Gas Investor, lhaines@hartenergy.com