An account of the boom in oil and gas production in the United States.
Sernovitz, managing director of Lime Rock, a private equity firm focusing on the oil and gas industry, a novelist (The Contrarians, 2002, etc.), and a journalist, calls this boom “the shale revolution.” At work, he writes, his job is to convince investors to put their money into that industry; with this book, he hopes to educate readers about the realities and the possibilities of the revolution. He takes both a close-up view and a broad one, looking at challenges from local, national, and global perspectives as well as the financial considerations. Drilling for gas and oil, Sernovitz acknowledges, is “loud, dirty, and complicated,” and “the shale revolution…is causing the world to double down on fossil fuels,” a serious problem for a planet facing climate change. On the positive side, he writes, the revolution is lowering America’s carbon dioxide emissions, creating jobs, freeing us from foreign dependency, and improving lives by spreading cheaper energy everywhere. The author pays close attention to fracking, explaining clearly just what it is and what it is not (when done properly), and he takes to task the 2010 documentary film Gasland for alarming the public about its hazards. Sernovitz, who writes with flair, humor, and assurance, includes some recent history of the industry, some big personalities, a little technology and geology, arguments of environmentalists (the “Green” of the title) and of oilmen (“Black”), and a wealth of statistics. While the bulk of the book is essentially a song of praise for the shale revolution, the final chapter, “Conclusions,” indicates that there are still problems to be solved and questions to be answered.
An insider’s cheerful, energetic examination of an industry that has changed dramatically in the last decade.