The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters [NOOK Book]

Overview

Everyone knew it was crazy to try to extract oil and natural gas buried in shale rock deep below the ground. Everyone, that is, except a few reckless wildcatters - who risked their careers to prove the world wrong.




Things looked grim for American energy in 2006. Oil production was in steep decline and natural gas was hard to find. The ...
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The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters

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Overview

Everyone knew it was crazy to try to extract oil and natural gas buried in shale rock deep below the ground. Everyone, that is, except a few reckless wildcatters - who risked their careers to prove the world wrong.




Things looked grim for American energy in 2006. Oil production was in steep decline and natural gas was hard to find. The Iraq War threatened the nation’s already tenuous relations with the Middle East. China was rapidly industrializing and competing for resources. Major oil companies had just about given up on new discoveries on U.S. soil, and a new energy crisis seemed likely.




But a handful of men believed everything was about to change.



Far from the limelight, Aubrey McClendon, Harold Hamm, Mark Papa, and other wildcatters were determined to tap massive deposits of oil and gas that Exxon, Chevron, and other giants had dismissed as a waste of time. By experimenting with hydraulic fracturing through extremely dense shale—a process now known as fracking—the wildcatters started a revolution. In just a few years, they solved America’s dependence on imported energy, triggered a global environmental controversy—and made and lost astonishing fortunes.




No one understands these men—their ambitions, personalities, methods, and foibles—better than the award-winning Wall Street Journal reporter Gregory Zuckerman. His exclusive access enabled him to get close to the frackers and chronicle the untold story of how they transformed the nation and the world. The result is a dramatic narrative tracking a brutal competition among headstrong drillers. It stretches from the barren fields of North Dakota and the rolling hills of northeastern Pennsylvania to cluttered pickup trucks in Texas and tense Wall Street boardrooms.




Activists argue that the same methods that are creating so much new energy are also harming our water supply and threatening environmental chaos. The Frackers tells the story of the angry opposition unleashed by this revolution and explores just how dangerous fracking really is.




The frackers have already transformed the economic, environmental, and geopolitical course of history. Now, like the Rockefellers and the Gettys before them, they’re using their wealth and power to influence politics, education, entertainment, sports, and many other fields. Their story is one of the most important of our time.










MEET THE FRACKERS




GEORGE MITCHELL, the son of a Greek goatherd, who tried to tap rock that experts deemed worthless but faced an unexpected obstacle in his quest to change history.



AUBREY McCLENDON, the charismatic scion of an Oklahoma energy family, who scored billions leading 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 wealthiest men. 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 than anyone 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 fortune disintegrate, leaving one last, unlikely chance for success.




MARK PAPA, the Enron castoff who panicked when he realized a resurgence of American natural gas was at hand, one that his company wasn’t prepared for.




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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 12/02/2013
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.)
Kirkus Reviews
2013-10-06
Award-winning Wall Street Journal columnist Zuckerman (The Greatest Trade Ever: The Behind-the-Scenes Story of How John Paulson Defied Wall Street and Made Financial History, 2009) calls drilling for shale gas and oil "one of the greatest energy revolutions in history." The author contends that reality has proven contrary to doom-and-gloom peak-oil prognostications. America, he writes, is on the verge of being energy independent, outpacing the Saudis, and we are in the top ranks of natural gas producers worldwide. Ironically, from the standpoint of investors, the problem has been an unpredicted glut of natural gas that unexpectedly caused prices to bottom out. Zuckerman claims that the United States is on the verge of an energy boom that will generate "more than two million new jobs by 2020," since the low cost of American gas and oil will lure investment. Export abroad will decrease the trade deficit and strengthen the dollar, while energy independence will free the U.S. from "costly foreign entanglements." The author chronicles the success of a group of wildcatters initially operating on the fringes of the energy industry. Fracking--a shorthand term for high-pressure, hydraulic fracturing of rock to release oil or gas--was a known technology since the days of the Civil War, but it took off during the economic boom of the 1990s. Zuckerman profiles the major players in the game, and he also addresses the ecological impact of the technology. He believes that while there are issues--e.g., potential contamination of the water supply and increased seismic activity--he is optimistic that they can be addressed and remedied in a proper regulatory environment. A first step would be to reveal the composition of pressurized liquid to ensure that it does not contain toxins or carcinogens. A fascinating study of American entrepreneurial culture and the modern robber barons who succeeded in creating an energy revolution.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101627907
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 11/5/2013
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 32,813
  • File size: 6 MB

Meet the Author


Gregory Zuckerman is a special writer at The Wall Street Journal and the bestselling author of The Greatest Trade Ever. He is a two-time winner of the Gerald Loeb Award and a winner of the New York Press Club Journalism Award. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and two sons.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 28, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    OUTSTANDING INSIGHT TO THE MEN WHO BELIEVED IN AMERICA!!

    Great history of the companies and men who never gave up on believing they could find oil and nat gas in America. This is what makes America great… people have rights to there land and business leaders that take risks!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2013

    The book was very well written and I ended up reading it cover t

    The book was very well written and I ended up reading it cover to cover yesterday.  

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 20, 2014

    Interesting balance of the technology and humanity of the energy business

    I enjoyed this book and came away with more of an understanding of 5 pivotal men who changed America's energy history. Not that I want to be any of them. They do make the slogan greed is good come alive. They were greedy for land, money and anything else they set their sights on. The story captures the ups and downs of the energy business and investing or participating in it is not for the faint hearted. I would have liked the book much more had the technology, science and art of drilling been more thoroughly described but I understand the importance of trade secrets. All in all it was an interesting and informative book professionally written.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 7, 2014

    Interesting and Appealing story of today's Captains of the Energy industry

    I'm still in the process of reading this book, but am finding it a fascinating expose on the men that have risked their fortunes and reputations in order to develop in-ground US Energy, and hopefully cash in at the same time. Sure, we all know that the United States has near limitless supplies of Shale oil and natural gas now, but at the time these men were seeking it, most experts and certainly the public thought they were nuts.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 3, 2014

    Very Interesting Read

    Enjoyed the Frackers mainly for the portrait of the "wildcatter" oilmen who gambled everything and through skill, persistence and ole fashioned luck, became billionaires through Fracking. While I don't like the practice, I was impressed by these individuals and the author does a great job of describing them. I only wish the book had talked more about the environmental issues caused by this practice - but it was still a very worthy read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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