The fracking boom took off as a result of a perfect storm of favorable conditions—conditions that not only explain America’s unparalleled success, but suggest that this party is nowhere near over. The Financial Times reports:
The International Energy Agency, the rich countries’ oil watchdog, predicts that before the end of the decade the US could be the world’s largest oil producer. Over the next five years, it is expected to account for about a third of all the new oil coming on to the market worldwide.
The FT rattles off the reasons for America’s success: a cultural familiarity with oil and gas drilling combined with relatively low population density has squelched the kinds of Not-In-My-Backyard protests that are currently stalling shale in Britain; also, in America landowners retain the rights to below-ground resources and therefore have an incentive to lease land to drilling companies. The US has played host to a number of smaller, more nimble “wildcatting” oil and gas drillers who have been willing to take greater risks on unconventional oil and gas plays. The FT also notes that US geology is more extensively mapped out than most, a result of nearly 150 years of commercial oil drilling.
Combine all of those factors with North American geology favorable for shale extraction and enough water to use in the water-intensive fracking process and you get an equation for a shale energy revolution. As the oil and gas industry continues to innovate—something it has proven itself to be highly capable of—more shale reserves will become recoverable, and at lower costs. America’s energy future looks brighter than ever.
[Oil rig image courtesy of Shutterstock]