The Shale Energy Revolution 'Reassured Me about America,' NY Author of "The
Frackers" Tells NGI
DULLES, Va. -- November 6, 2013
George P. Mitchell and crew long have been credited with finding the trigger
to unlock unconventional natural gas, but it was in fact a colorful cast of
visionaries, oddballs and take-no-prisoner pitchmen who helped launch the
United States on the road to energy independence, as told in the insightful,
and at times suspenseful, new book by bestselling author Gregory Zuckerman,
The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters.
The Portfolio/Penguin book, which hit bookstores on Tuesday, is on target in
telling the tale of a group of wildcatters -- winners and losers -- who risked
almost everything on the promise of unconventional natural gas -- reserves
uncovered through horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing -- fracking.
Mitchell founded and nearly bankrupted Mitchell Energy & Development Corp. in
his quest to discover the secret sauce that would capture commercial gas from
the Barnett Shale. Aubrey McClendon and Tom Ward, both landmen, kept running
into each other as they traipsed the country securing deals, so they decided
to form Chesapeake Energy Corp.
Harold Hamm, the son of poor Oklahoma sharecroppers, believed there was more
oil than anyone imagined in an overlooked corner of the country. Mark Papa,
who helmed an Enron Corp. oil and gas castoff, saw the resurgence in U.S.
energy production but realized his company wasn't prepared for it. And then
there's Charif Souki, a "super smart" Lebanese immigrant whose fortunes had
disintegrated before he found an unlikely avenue for success in liquefied
natural gas (LNG).
Zuckerman, a Wall Street Journal reporter and bestselling author of The
Greatest Trade Ever about the 2008 Wall Street financial crash, spent some
time talking with NGI’s Shale Daily about his book. He admitted that as an
East Coast journalist, he had preconceived notions of what he'd find in the
middle of America. What he actually did find was a revelation.
He told NGI he titled the book "The Frackers" not out of disrespect, but
because it has become an international symbol of energy independence.
Zuckerman's immersion in the life and times of the founders of the 21st
Century energy revolution "reassured me about America." He contrasted the
energy boom across the country with the East Coast where jobs for talented
young people are hard to find, and "where many people are just sort of
downbeat and don't have tremendous hopes for the future.
"But then you start in the energy business and this revitalized industry and
resurgence...It's completely different. It's like going back in time almost.
You go up to North Dakota and the Williston and it's sort of like the tech
world of 1999. It's wonderful to see these young people… the entrepreneurs out
there, the resiliency of this country, of the frackers...People are coming
from all over the world."
In researching the book, Zuckerman found to his surprise that many in the
industry have a respect for the environment and a love of nature, he told NGI.
"A lot of them are geologists, and they like rock and they have ranches and
they spend more time outdoors than I do."
As for the war between the energy industry and dedicated environmentalists,
"The truth lies in the middle somewhere, where, yeah, fracking can be done
properly, but often isn't. But...we're sitting on the biggest natural gas
deposits in the world...and we're coming out of the biggest economic
downturn...and you're expecting our nation not to try and tap those cheap gas
sources? It's better to work with those producers and put pressure on
producers to improve how they do it."
Sign up for a free trial and read NGI’s Shale Daily review of The Frackers and
an interview with its author at www.naturalgasintel.com.
NGI has been an independent voice delivering real-time news and price survey
reports for the natural gas market since 1981 in its publications: Natural Gas
Intelligence, Daily Gas Price Index, Weekly Gas Price Index and NGI's Shale
Daily. Relied on by industry and government since 1988, NGI data is the
industry's lowest cost essential data available on conventional and
unconventional natural gas pricing.
Natural Gas Intelligence
James Geanakos, 703-318-8848
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