Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on August 3, 2017
For looking looking for a history of horizontal fracturing - i.e. the development of the combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing that has allowed the oil & gas industry to tap into resources once thought unrecoverable and push U.S. production to historic highs, even after most industry watchers thought the domestic industry was well past its peak - Greg Zuckerman offers a detailed and comprehensive account. He chronicles the rags to riches stories of several key players - George Mitchell of Mitchell Energy, Aubrey McClendon, and Tom Ward of Chesapeake, Harold Hamm of Continental Resources, Mark Papa of EOG Resources and Charif Souki of Cheniere Energy (who is not really a fracker, but rather an LNG distributor and marketer who is also a colorful character). The stories describe the difficulties (including near bankruptcies) that many of these players endured. It makes for interesting reading. Among my few complaints: Zuckerman has a penchant for drawing out his narrative, especially in anticipation of major events. In my mind, the book is probably 50-100 pages too long. However, Zuckerman is an excellent writer; so much so that I was able to read the book in one sitting, which was a first for me. Curiously, the book is divided into two parts: the Breakthrough and the Race; but the Race continues even after the industry collapses. Besides telling the stories of these independent wildcatters, Zuckerman offers an analysis of the environmental questions surrounding fracking at the end of the book. What's missing is whether this "race" to develop this major natural resource represents good energy policy. (To date, we are the only nation that has gone all out to develop shale supplies and while some estimates put our remaining supply at about 100 years, it is still a finite resource.) The latest version of The Frackers offers an Afterword; but the story is still evolving and would benefit from an update, especially after the death of Aubrey McClendon. For those interested in learning about this important chapter in the history of the U.S. oil and gas industry, The Frackers is well worth a read.
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