The Next Financial Crisis Lurks Underground, . . . .

The Next Financial Crisis Lurks Underground, . . . .

Postby Oscar » Sun Sep 16, 2018 9:00 pm

The Next Financial Crisis Lurks Underground, Fueled by debt and years of easy credit, America’s energy boom is on shaky footing.

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By Bethany McLean

Ms. McLean, whose book about Enron was turned into an Oscar-nominated documentary, is the author of a new book about the fracking industry.

Sept. 1, 2018

About 20 years ago, an entrepreneur named George Mitchell proved that it was possible to get lots of oil and gas out of parts of the earth long thought to be sucked dry, by injecting liquid at high pressure into a horizontal well below the surface. About 10 years ago, fracking — the common term for this process — began in earnest.

In that short amount of time, fracking in America has turned the energy world upside down. A decade and a half ago, Congress was hand-wringing about impending shortages of oil and natural gas. By the end of 2015, President Barack Obama lifted the ban against oil exports. Today, America is the world’s largest producer of natural gas and is an oil powerhouse, ready to eclipse both Saudi Arabia and Russia.

This has led to muscular claims about American energy wealth. Erik Norland, executive director of CME Group, a derivatives marketplace, calls fracking “one of the top five things reshaping geopolitics.”

This radical change has resulted in widespread concern about the impact of fracking on the environment, about earthquakes and water contamination. But another, less well-known controversy may prove to be more important.

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