BPF Book Review – Saudi America


Bigger Pie Forum | BPF Book Review – Saudi America | Ashby Foote
Politicians may take credit for creating jobs and economic growth, but it is really the entrepreneurs, who focus on the improbable and impossible, that move the economy and the world forward.  Fracking is the best 21stcentury example of how a few very determined individuals are radically changing the world through experimentation and innovation.
In Saudi America: The Truth About Fracking and How It’s Changing the World, author Bethany McLean has provided a good, concise primer on the shale revolution; how it came about and where it stands today.  Most importantly, the book updates the fracking story to 2018 and shows how it continues to roil the global economy and the geopolitical power structure.
Entrepreneurs in the oil patch, better known as wildcatters, have harnessed unconventional drilling techniques that make up fracking to include horizontal drilling and the fracturing of shale rock.  These are amazing technologies that took decades to develop and perfect and finally struck commercial pay-dirt in 2009 and 2010 with natural gas, evidenced by exploding supply and dramatically falling natural gas prices.  Extracting crude from fractured shale was a much stickier proposition, but perseverance began to pay off in 2012 and 2013, again evidenced by burgeoning production and a big fall in the price of oil.  The continued evolution of fracking has transformed the energy business from one of scarcities to one of abundances, and it now represents an existential threat to OPEC and their control over the global energy markets.
Chapter 8, titled “Permania,” focuses on the Permian Basin in West Texas which is the sweetest spot in this latest phase of the fracking boom.  It turns out that the geology of the Permian Basin, which features multiple layers of shale rich in hydrocarbons, is ideal for the

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