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Old 11-23-2012, 01:11 PM  
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Fracking to lead to a new golden age?

Dunno if this should be in DC or not, but it seems more societal than political. I thought it was interesting and had no idea that fracking would have that big an impact.

I added the bold formatting in places because doing so will draw your attention to it since I think it's interesting.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/23/busine...html?hpt=hp_c1

U.S. set for fracking bonanza, says historian Ferguson
By Andrew Stevens, CNN
updated 12:30 PM EST, Fri November 23, 2012

Hong Kong (CNN) -- If there's been one consistent thread running through the U.S. economic story since 2008, it's been the steady drumbeat of gloom.
Outright recession or sub-standard growth, stubbornly high unemployment and fiscal crises have been the topics du jour when it comes to the world's biggest economy.

But now an unlikely champion for U.S. growth under the Obama administration has emerged -- a former adviser to a Republican Party presidential candidate and Harvard history professor, Niall Ferguson, who says America could actually be heading toward a new economic "golden age."

And it has nothing to do with Washington and everything to do with energy.

Ferguson, who is also an author and commentator, believes the production of natural gas and oil from shale formations via a process known as "fracking" -- forcing open rocks by injecting fluid into cracks -- will be a game changer.

"This is an absolutely huge phenomenon with massive implications for the U.S. economy, and I think most people are still a little bit slow to appreciate just how big this is," he said in Hong Kong this week.

"Conceivably it does mean a new golden age."

U.S. energy production has been booming in recent years. The International Energy Agency made a jaw-dropping forecast two weeks ago that the U.S. would pass Saudi Arabia as the world's biggest oil producer by the end of this decade -- and would achieve near energy independence by the 2030s.


That energy boom, asserts Ferguson, will create jobs in the United States.

Lots of jobs.

The energy sector currently supports 1.7 million American jobs directly or indirectly, according to economic forecaster IHS global Insight. That could rise to 3 million by 2020, it says.

"It's not only in the extraction industry and infrastructure, but more importantly cheap energy is going to create employment in manufacturing. I think you'll see a renaissance in manufacturing," said Ferguson.

"That is being helped by the fact U.S. labor costs have been pretty competitive over the past decade, even as labor costs are going up in China."

It is also, he says, a big deal for the dollar. "As the U.S. moves towards energy independence and becoming the biggest producer in the world, the dollar can only benefit. Anybody who thought the financial crisis was going to lead to the demise of the dollar as an international currency is wrong -- it's quite the opposite."

And what of U.S. engagement in the Middle East?

Ferguson says it would be naive to assume that Washington would withdraw in any significant way from the region.

"Nobody is going to step in and take the job of being global policeman in charge of Middle Eastern stability. I think everyone would be nervous, if the Chinese suddenly volunteered to take that job on, which by the way they are not going to do anytime soon," he said.

For the recently reelected U.S. president though, the energy boom looks like it could provide a welcome tailwind for his second term.

It's something that Ferguson acknowledges -- though one suspects through gritted teeth.

As a supporter of Mitt Romney he penned a controversial pre-election cover story in Newsweek headlined "Hit the Road, Barack," which was highly critical of the president's first term.

He concedes the irony that the president will now be the beneficiary of the "good times that lie ahead."
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Old 11-23-2012, 04:25 PM   #46
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I live in a pretty heavy fracking community and all my family is from one that is even heavier. It definitely boosts the economy, but there are serious issues with it as we'll from an environmental standpoint. And that's not just speaking as a hippie. My redneck relatives all have mixed feeling about fracking as well.
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Old 11-23-2012, 05:11 PM   #47
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Bad wells. Not the fault of the technology per se.
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Old 11-23-2012, 05:21 PM   #48
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Yes, it is an interesting prediction. However, the energy companies are under no obligation to sell and refine the crude for purely American consumption.
Wouldn't the cost of export mean that our own demand will be mostly met before it economically makes sense to ship oil out?
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Old 11-23-2012, 05:43 PM   #49
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So the video clips on you tube of people lighting their tap water on fire in the area of the country where fracking is occurring are all fake?
Actually I believe some of those stories were proven to be fabricated. I'm not saying it can't be a problem if not handled correctly. But, there is no reason the technology can't be used in a safe manner to benefit society and the environment.
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Old 11-23-2012, 05:49 PM   #50
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I'm far from a tree hugger, but it's pretty clear to me that the practice poses a serious risk to the environment. A real, immediate, risk. It's not just the underground water table that's at risk, the waste water the process creates is also a major issue.

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Old 11-23-2012, 06:15 PM   #51
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Why are you bringing up politics?

I was referring to there relatively suddenly being a new flow of oil coming into the global market. One of the items that is very closely watched is the global spare capacity. If we start putting millions more barrels of crude into the market, it eases the space capacity concerns.

That has nothing to do with politics.
Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.
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Old 11-23-2012, 06:29 PM   #52
Aries Walker Aries Walker is offline
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My family is in the coal mining business, but my company is in the natural gas business, so I have some exposure to the experts in the field.

Fracking is a new technology. As such, it will take a while for safety, regulation, and legislation to catch up with it, but they will, just like they did with oil back in the late 19th century. As it is now, however, yes, it's dangerous to the water table in the areas around it. As far as I'm concerned, we should be regulating and monitoring all of those drilling companies more than we are, but if it helps us get away from coal and more into natural gas, it would be worth it.

As for Niall Ferguson, I haven't read any of his books myself, but he doesn't have a great reputation among historians who have. This is second hand, of course, but I'm not sure I would automatically assume every position he takes is representative of the academic consensus.
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Old 11-23-2012, 06:32 PM   #53
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Wouldn't the cost of export mean that our own demand will be mostly met before it economically makes sense to ship oil out?
Not if the importing party is willing to pay the export costs. We also don't exactly have much spare refining capacity.
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Old 11-23-2012, 06:33 PM   #54
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Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.
I must admit, you are confusing the hell out of me right now, Dane. I wasn't being political at all if that is what you are saying.
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Old 11-23-2012, 06:34 PM   #55
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Can we please move to renewable resources? JFC.
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Old 11-23-2012, 07:23 PM   #56
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As for Niall Ferguson, I haven't read any of his books myself, but he doesn't have a great reputation among historians who have. This is second hand, of course, but I'm not sure I would automatically assume every position he takes is representative of the academic consensus.
I just quoted him because he was on the Internet, which gives him credibility to me.
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Old 11-23-2012, 07:24 PM   #57
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Can we please move to renewable resources? JFC.
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Old 11-23-2012, 07:34 PM   #58
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This, clearly, is another one of those delineating, partisan issues. There could be double blind studies coming out with 90% of the population in a fracking area coming down with cancer, and a certain group of people would say "treehugger pussies! You want to send us back to the dark ages?" And another group would say, even if the fuel source was the perfect one, "OMG! It's the death! Run from Saruman!!!" Sad really.
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:24 PM   #59
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I truly believe that my generation is going to be the one to stand up and put an end to the issues being posed by our reliance on combustible, non-renewable fuels as our energy sources.

The buck has to stop somewhere, and I think it will when the current generation dies off.
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Old 11-23-2012, 08:27 PM   #60
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I truly believe that my generation is going to be the one to stand up and put an end to the issues being posed by our reliance on combustible, non-renewable fuels as our energy sources.

The buck has to stop somewhere, and I think it will when the current generation dies off.
I don't know which generation is yours, but whoever they are, my bet is that they'll end up selling out just like the hippies of the 60s did.
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