Author: Fracking Reaffirms American Exceptionalism
The energy boom unleashed by hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling couldn’t have happened anywhere but America, says author and journalist Gregory Zuckerman.
Zuckerman say America’s entrepreneurial spirit, knowledge and property rights make fracking a uniquely American story.
“This reaffirms the concept of American exceptionalism,” Zuckerman told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “We’ve got advantages the rest of the world doesn’t have and it’s going to lead to America’s economic dominance for the next few years.”
Zuckerman’s new book “The Frackers” is the story of how a few desperate entrepreneurs and wild cat drillers risked everything to extract oil and natural gas from once unreachable U.S. shale formations. They did what major oil companies were unwilling to do and started an American energy revolution in the process.
These drillers did more than that just change America, they changed the world. America is on pace to become the world’s largest oil and natural gas producer, despite heavy opposition left-wing environmentalists and politicians.
“The war against fracking has been lost,” Zuckerman said. “American entrepreneurs and wildcatters continue to plow ahead and the rest of the world admires them and wants to emulate them.”
Oil businessmen Harold Hamm and the late George Mitchell had their backs against the wall and unlocked vast oil and gas reserves at a time when the experts were saying the U.S. would increasingly become reliant on energy imports. But now shale oil and gas production is booming — the U.S. is the world’s largest natural gas producer and oil production is expected to hit 13 million barrels per day in 2019.
“Entrepreneurs and wildcatters changed the country and really changed the world,” Zuckerman said. “It wasn’t giant international oil companies — they all got it wrong. It wasn’t the government itself, though it played a small role in this revolution.”
“It wasn’t the people you expected, he added. “It was sort of… stubborn Americans.”
There are lots of shale formations throughout the world that we’ve known about for some time — which countries now want to develop — but an energy boom happened in America first and not in the rest of the world. Why is that?
“The more work I did on the book, I realized there were real advantages America had over the rest of the world, Zuckerman said, adding that some advantages were god-given, like vast supplies of fresh water. But other advantages, he said, we’re uniquely American.
But one key advantage America has over the rest of the world is that we own the mineral rights under our properties. This means landowners, especially in rural areas where shale is, get royalty checks for allowing companies to drill on their lands. This has led to a resurgence of small town America and breathed life back into rural communities.
“We’re one of the only countries where we own our own mineral rights under our properties, so people can work with these wildcatters and get compensated,” Zuckerman told TheDCNF. “Yeah, it’s gonna be messy and noisy and dirty, but you’re being compensated for it. People can keep their farms and young people are coming back to live in their hometowns.”
“When you talk to people in other countries they have more admiration for this energy revolution than even Americans do,” Zuckerman said. “This revolution could only happen in America.”
Probably the most resounding impacts of the U.S. fracking boom is the huge geopolitical shift that’s occurring. The U.S. is on track to become a natural gas exporter and is importing less oil every year. This means less reliance on the Middle East and Putin’s Russia for energy supplies.
“I think the geopolitical impact of the energy revolution is only starting to be examined by people in Washington and it could be the most dramatic impact,” Zuckerman said. “There could be an era where we don’t really care that much about the Saudis. It does give us flexibility at the margin.”
“Only by exporting more natural gas can we break that stranglehold putin and russia have over europe,” he added. “The frackers have given us that weapon.”
Zuckerman, however, cautioned that as long as the U.S. uses oil, it will have interests in the Middle East, the world’s oil producing powerhouse. But it gives the U.S. time in finding more alternative fuels and give the country more foreign policy options.
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