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The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story of…
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The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire… (2013)

by Gregory Zuckerman

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This is not a technical book – very much a personality-focused, shock-horror the gas price has tanked, wow it works, lets buy some wine, succession of shot and cut narratives. The important differences between drilling, fracking, horizontal drilling and staged fracking are incidental to the colourful background, which is treated the foreground. Two points stand out: First , the laws that govern the right to prospect/produce oil and gas in the USA are entirely different from those in South Africa. And the laws that regulate fracking are admitted to be flawed, prone to wide interpretation and weak application. Second, hydraulic fracturing may have first been used in the 1940’s, but its recent development to extract oil and gas from shale is entirely new. The risks of these innovations were and are still not fully understood. Each geological formation responds individually to the fracking technique applied. Years of trial and error may be needed in each case. Even in the USA, where fracking has had a clear decade of use (with huge and surprising success) there is still no consensus on how much oil and gas is retrievable. The estimates vary every moment, with commodity prices, resource identification, technology and (recently) environmental limits. Do not expect the SA research into unconventional gas to produce an estimate of SA shale gas potential that has any real meaning – even after the 2 year study. Fracking will become a “game changer” if they decide to allow it, whatever the energy outcome. There is no way of knowing, before the damage is done, whether the trade offs are justifiable. ( )
  mnicol | Jul 30, 2016 |
I started this book nearly as soon as I had checked it out from the library, and it made great reading initially. The stories of several go-getters who struggled to make it big with the newly developed hydraulic fracturing (fracking) technology in the oil and gas business. Their optimism and confidence in what they were doing. Their financing methods, friends in high places and heavy borrowing, their infidelity and near-abandonment of their wives and families....you see where my tone is headed.

Reading all about the lives of the big-players in the industry was a very interesting experience. Their self-assurance and determination is admirable, and the amounts of money being played with utterly incredible. The book addressed my elephant in the room at the end, the environmental issues associated with fracking. But overall I found the lack of subjectivity in the book a real put off. I like my non fiction to take a stance and argue it. This was more an extended impartial article, and it did a great job of doing just that. ( )
  Ireadthereforeiam | Jan 9, 2015 |
A look detailed book about the modern domestic oil and gas industry in the USA. Fascinating descriptions of rags to riches stories and of riches to rags too. Amazing and Inspiring! ( )
  jvgravy | Oct 16, 2014 |
Good introduction to fracking through the personal stories of a few wildly successful upstart outsiders. By the 1980s, large oil and gas fields in the USA were by conventional wisdom long gone. Large multinationals like Exxon were drilling in foreign locations. In the 1990s, small operators begin experimenting with new technologies and invented fracking that targeted shale oil and gas, initially almost right under Exxon's headquarters in Texas. Soon other fields were found and suddenly the USA was becoming one of the world's biggest oil and gas producers. A few small companies that embraced the new technology became very rich as things ramped up in the 00s. The USA could become energy independent, even a net exporter, something that seemed impossible only a few years ago. The book focuses on the stories of a few of the "wildcat" CEOs who benefited. Zuckerman is a good story teller, and this is an important story of our times that is still playing out, the impacts are broad and significant. ( )
  Stbalbach | May 5, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gregory Zuckermanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Pratt, SeanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"The riveting, untold story of the men who are transforming global energy. In five years, the United States has seen a historic burst of oil and natural gas production, easing our insatiable hunger for energy. A new drilling process called fracking has made us the world's fastest growing energy power, on track to pass Saudi Arabia by 2020. But despite headlines and controversy, no previous book has shown how the revolution really happened. The Frackers tells the dramatic tale of how a group of ambitious and headstrong wildcatters ignored the ridicule of experts and derision of colleagues to pursue massive, long-overlooked deposits. Against all odds, they changed the world-and made astonishing fortunes in the process. Zuckerman's exclusive access enabled him to get close to men like George Mitchell, who developed a new way to drill for gas in shale rock; Harold Hamm, who discovered so much oil he's now worth more than the estate of Steve Jobs; and Aubrey McClendon, who lost more than $2 billion on a misguided gambit. Zuckerman shows how the frackers are now using their wealth to shake up Hollywood, education, politics, sports, and other fields, much like the Rockefellers and Gettys before them. He also explores the debate over the environmental risks of fracking, and whether those risks are worth it for the United States to achieve energy independence and for the rest of the world to follow"--"In five years, the United States has seen a historic burst of oil and natural gas production, easing our insatiable hunger for energy. A new drilling process called fracking has made us the world's fastest growing energy power, on track to pass Saudi Arabia by 2020. But despite headlines and controversy, no previous book has shown how the revolution really happened. The Frackers tells the dramatic tale of how a group of ambitious and headstrong wildcatters ignored the ridicule of experts and derision of colleagues to pursue massive, long-overlooked deposits. Against all odds, they changed the world--and made astonishing fortunes in the process. Zuckerman's exclusive access enabled him to get close to men like George Mitchell, who developed a new way to drill for gas in shale rock; Harold Hamm, who discovered so much oil he's now worth more than the estate of Steve Jobs; and Aubrey McClendon, who lost more than $2 billion on a misguided gambit. Zuckerman shows how the frackers are now using their wealth to shake up Hollywood, education, politics, sports, and other fields, much like the Rockefellers and Gettys before them"--… (more)

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