Letter to the editor: Critique of IHS and Yergin is false and unwarranted

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Note: This is a response to an article published earlier on Quartz.

IHS takes strong issue with the assertions and innuendos proffered by Steve LeVine in his recent article ”Meet the man the oil industry goes to for a voice of gravitas in the US election.” He attacks IHS’ new report—America’s New Energy Future: The Unconventional Oil and Gas Revolution and the Economy—and portrays IHS and its Vice Chairman Daniel Yergin as conducting political advocacy with the report.

The assertions in his article are categorically false, and his unwarranted attack on Dr. Yergin, offensive.

Contrary to the thrust of Mr. LeVine’s article, the study does not stake out a political position, makes no judgments about policy, nor does it recommend changes to policy. Rather, our report’s findings and projections are based on the policy and regulatory status quo—that is, the policies and regulations that are currently in place in regards to unconventional oil and gas production. The report does not attempt to examine, much less advocate for, any political objective or policy decision.

Mr. LeVine does not address the actual findings of our report, nor the research in it, nor its methodology. Instead, Mr. LeVine falsely implies that IHS engages in politically motivated activity, claiming that the report and Dr. Yergin “made the case for one of Romney’s central planks.”

This is not true. The report is not a partisan document, and it is IHS policy not to engage in political advocacy. IHS research on this subject has been cited by both political parties, including by President Obama in his 2012 State of the Union, in his Convention acceptance speech, and in the presidential debates. Mr. LeVine ignored all of this in his article, as well as the fact that Dr. Yergin currently serves on the US Secretary of Energy Advisory Board, as he did during the two previous administrations, and that he was a member of that board’s subcommittee on natural gas that was set up at the behest of President Obama.

Mr. LeVine also fails to report that Dr. Yergin is a director of the New America Foundation which along with Quartz employs Mr. LeVine, and which has a stated mission of being “non-partisan”.

Mr. LeVine’s slurs on Dr. Yergin’s work are decidedly off-base. Contrary to Mr. LeVine’s statements, Dr. Yergin has earned a reputation as one of the world’s foremost experts on energy because of his understanding of global energy issues, and the quality and objectivity of his work. For example, this week the International Association for Energy Economics presented its 2012 award to Dr. Yergin for “outstanding contributions to the profession of energy economics and to its literature.”

In summary, Mr. LeVine’s article is simply not based on fact and impugns the integrity of IHS and Dr. Yergin. It also falsely portrays the well-defined process and guidelines that we at IHS employ every day to ensure the accuracy, fairness, depth and independence of our research.

Ed Mattix

Vice President-Corporate Communications

IHS Inc.