Best-selling author Bethany McLean reveals the true story of fracking's impact - on Wall Street, the economy, and geopolitics.
The technology of fracking in shale rock - particularly in the Permian Basin in Texas - has transformed America into the world's top producer of both oil and natural gas. The US is expected to be "energy independent" and a "net exporter" in less than a decade, a move that will upend global politics, destabilize Saudi Arabia, crush Russia's chokehold over Europe, and finally bolster American power again.
Or will it?
Investigative journalist and bestselling author Bethany McLean digs deep into the cycles of boom and bust that has plagued the American oil industry for the past decade, from the financial wizardry and mysterious death of fracking pioneer Aubrey McClendon, to the speculators who are betting on America's ascendance and the collapse of OPEC in the great game of geopolitics. McLean finds that fracking is a business built on attracting ever-more gigantic amounts of capital investment, while promises of huge returns have often not borne out. Overeagerness in partaking in a boom can lead to all types of problems and just as she did with the Enron story, in Saudi America McLean points out the reality and the risks of the inflated promises of the fracking boom.
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- Marc Dierckx
No more heroes anymore
Heroes are a central part in the US journalistic endeavour and as long as somebody is a "hardworking family man" he can become a hero regardless of his machiaveliian attitude. The only condition is that he manages to reach billionaire status and shows off in sumptuous constructions and life style. The machiavellian method in the case of shale gas is a Ponzi scheme narrated as a compelling story that is far from a revolutionary but ambiguous enough to seduce all participants in global geopolitics. As Bethany McLean suggests at the end of the book: the push and pull on geopolitics depends more on which interpretation gets the upper hand than on measurable influence. But that should not be surprising as for complex systems cause and effect get indistinguishable. The book is thus more a reflection on US values and how these shape with a simple narratives the destiny of the world then a compelling story by itself, but good enough for a couple of hours of entertainment.