In the latest volley between two industry titans who dominate North American gas production, Chesapeake's Aubrey McLendon and XTO's Bob Simpson, Simpson spoke out at the 13th annual EnerCom Oil and Gas Conference in Denver. After outlining details on XTO's recent $10-billion gas-asset grab that will double the company (See and the magazine for even more details), Simpson started extolling the virtues of gas shales. They are no doubt very exciting for XTO, investors in the industry and for the country, he said. But, he referenced the recent dust-up on conference calls, when he made a few negative comments to dampen shale hype, while CHK's McLendon came back saying, "Don't diss the Haynesville." Both companies are in the Haynesville--and other shales--in a big way. "This is an interesting time. We've had these shales plays developing and we are finding these giant discoveries and fields," Simpson said. "But not every acre is alive. An acre in Tarrant County [the heart of the Barnett shale] is worth 20 times what an acre in one of the western counties is worth. And that is going to be true in every one of these other shale plays. "They are not a blanket play--well, they are geologically, but they won't be in production--but it is being communicated to the investor as a blanket play. It's not quite that simple. "The oil sands in Alberta would be an analogy. If oil prices are what they are, why don't they triple production up there? Well, we all know why--it's the lack of infrastructure. The same is true for these shales. Until the infrastructure is there, you'll have displaced production. "The Marcellus will be the worst--the infrastructure there was made for long-lived, itty, bitty wells. It can't handle these new wells doing 3-, 4-, 5 million a day. "Look, I was fussing about some numbers, but we don't know yet--I didn't mean to be negative on the Haynesville itself." --Leslie Haines, Editor in chief, Oil and Gas Investor,