Things looked grim for American energy in 2006.Read more...
Things looked grim for American energy in 2006. Oilproduction was in steep decline and natural gas washard to find. The Iraq War threatened the nation salready tenuous relations with the Middle East.China was rapidly industrializing and competing forresources. Major oil companies had just about givenup on new discoveries on U.S. soil, and a new energycrisis seemed likely.
But a handful of men believed everything wasabout to change.
Far from the limelight, Aubrey McClendon, Harold Hamm, Mark Papa, and other wildcatterswere determined to tap massive deposits of oil andgas that Exxon, Chevron, and other giants had dismissedas a waste of time. By experimenting withhydraulic fracturing through extremely dense shale a process now known as fracking the wildcattersstarted a revolution. In just a few years, they solvedAmerica s dependence on imported energy, triggereda global environmental controversy and made andlost astonishing fortunes.
No one understands these men their ambitions, personalities, methods, and foibles betterthan the award-winning Wall Street Journal reporterGregory Zuckerman. His exclusive access enabledhim to get close to the frackers and chronicle theuntold story of how they transformed the nation andthe world. The result is a dramatic narrative trackinga brutal competition among headstrong drillers.It stretches from the barren fields of North Dakotaand the rolling hills of northeastern Pennsylvaniato cluttered pickup trucks in Texas and tense WallStreet boardrooms.
Activists argue that the same methods that arecreating so much new energy are also harming ourwater supply and threatening environmental chaos.The Frackers tells the story of the angry oppositionunleashed by this revolution and explores just howdangerous fracking really is.
The frackers have already transformed the economic, environmental, and geopolitical course ofhistory. Now, like the Rockefellers and the Gettysbefore them, they re using their wealth and power toinfluence politics, education, entertainment, sports, and many other fields. Their story is one of the mostimportant of our time.
MEET THE FRACKERS
GEORGE MITCHELL, the son of a Greek goatherd, who tried to tap rock that experts deemedworthless but faced an unexpected obstacle in his quest to change history.
AUBREY McCLENDON, the charismatic scion of an Oklahoma energy family, who scored billionsleading a historic land grab. He wasn t prepared for the shocking fallout of his discoveries.
TOM WARD, who overcame a troubled childhood to become one of the nation s wealthiestmen. He could handle natural-gas fields but had more trouble with a Wall Street power broker.
HAROLD HAMM, the son of poor sharecroppers, who believed America had more oil thananyone imagined. Hamm was determined to find the crude before others caught on.
CHARIF SOUKI, the dashing Lebanese immigrant who saw his career crumble and his fortunedisintegrate, leaving one last, unlikely chance for success.
MARK PAPA, the Enron castoff who panicked when he realized a resurgence of Americannatural gas was at hand, one that his company wasn t prepared for.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-12-02
- Reviewer: Staff
Too little attention has been paid to one of America's biggest economic and scientific revolution of recent decades: the tapping of abundant oil and natural gas reserves within our own borders using a technique called fracking. Wall Street Journal reporter Zuckerman (The Greatest Trade) sets out to change that with his unique talent of translating complex aspects of finances and geology into prose that reads like a blockbuster thriller. Focusing on a half dozen "wildcatters," the ones who seek out potential drilling sites, Zuckerman takes us through their decades long drought while they refined the techniques of horizontal hydraulic drilling that eventually would turn our country from energy dependent to political independence, and make a few billionaires along the way. Such success comes with some hard-learned morals as most of these men end up losing the very companies they founded. These present day wildcatters are addicted to oil, and eventually cause such an abundance of natural gas that one speculator actually goes so far as to raise billions in an attempt to export it. Environmental impact is given little attention, a worrisome absence that can only be explained by the fact that Zuckerman's focus is on the men who truly care little about it. Fortunately, Zuckerman tackles some of the popular misconceptions about the environmental threats from fracking in the afterward, while at the same time he urges some much needed caution and stricter regulations on an industry that initially set out to save us and should not, in the end, destroy us. (Nov.)