The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters

Overview

“A lively, exciting, and definitely thought-provoking book.” —Booklist

Things looked grim for American energy in 2006, but a handful of wildcatters were determined to tap massive deposits of oil and gas that giants like Exxon and Chevron had ignored. They risked everything on a new process called fracking. Within a few years, they solved America’s dependence on imported energy, triggered a global environmental...

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The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters

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Overview

“A lively, exciting, and definitely thought-provoking book.” —Booklist

Things looked grim for American energy in 2006, but a handful of wildcatters were determined to tap massive deposits of oil and gas that giants like Exxon and Chevron had ignored. They risked everything on a new process called fracking. Within 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 the frackers—their ambitions, personalities, and foibles—better than Wall Street Journal reporter Gregory Zuckerman. His exclusive access drives this dramatic narrative, which stretches from North Dakota to Texas to Wall Street.

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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: 9781591847090
  • Publisher: Portfolio Trade
  • Publication date: 10/28/2014
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 293,030

Meet the Author

Gregory Zuckerman is a special writer at The Wall Street Journal and author of the New York Times bestseller 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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