Less than ten years ago, America’s energy future looked bleak. World oil prices in 2008 had spiked to more than $100 per barrel of crude.
“Peak oil” — the theory that the world had already extracted more crude oil than was still left in the ground — was America’s supposed bleak fate. Ten years ago, rising gas prices, spiraling trade deficits, and ongoing war in the oil-rich Middle East only underscored America’s precarious dependence on foreign sources of oil.
Despite news of a radically improved but relatively old technology called “fracking” — drilling into shale rock and injecting water, sand, and chemicals at high pressure to hydraulically “fracture” the rock and create seams from which petroleum and natural gas are released — few saw much hope.
In 2012, when gas prices were hitting $4 a gallon in some areas, President Obama admonished the country that we “can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices.” That was a putdown of former Alaska governor and vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s refrain “Drill, baby, drill.
Obama barred new oil and gas permits on federal lands. Steven Chu, who would become secretary of energy in the Obama administration, had earlier mused that gas prices might ideally rise to European levels (about $10 a gallon), thereby forcing Americans to turn to expensive subsidized alternative green fuels
But over the last five years, frackers have refined their craft on private properties, finding ever cheaper and more efficient ways to extract huge amounts of crude oil and natural gas from shale rock.
The complete story here > The Fracking Industry Deserves Our Gratitude