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« Let them eat equality | Main | Ecocide echo - Josh 251 »
Saturday
Dec072013

The Frackers

Gregory Zuckerman, a business journalist at the Wall Street Journal has told the story of the shale gas revolution in his new book The Frackers. It's an easy read, with a light, journalistic style similar to books like Robert X Cringely's Accidental Empires or Stephen Levy's Hackers. You get a series of pen portraits of the motley selection of men who battled against adversity and ridicule and made the shale gas revolution a reality. We hear about their lives and loves and the fortunes they made, or in some cases, they didn't make.

The book cleverly shows how the different ingredients needed in order to make shale gas flow in economic quantities were gradually brought together. So we start by learning that hydraulic fracturing was tried as an alternative to gel-based fracking (not as a brave new commercial venture but in a desperate attempt to save money) and was found to be much more effective. Others were trying horizontal drilling on shale and exploiting the new-found ability to precisely steer the drill bit. Other factors needed to be added before the recipe was just right.

In the end though it's a bit too light for me. As a business journalist with a mission to entertain the lay reader, Zuckerman seems to shy away from the technical details. I wanted more science, more technical details, something more to get my teeth into. But if you are not technically inclined, or you just want something to read by the pool, you will enjoy it.

Buy here.

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Reader Comments (11)

So, anyway - any news of the poor dears camped out at the Salford 'fracking' site..?

Dec 7, 2013 at 12:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterSherlock1

"The book cleverly shows how the different ingredients needed in order to make shale gas flow in economic quantities were gradually brought together. "

Unlike the BBC which still disingenuously states "Democrats in the US Congress released a report that detailed some 750 different chemicals and other components used in fracking fluid." Implying that every fracking fluid contains that many chemicals, when in fact, that was the number of chemicals experimented with, during the ongoing development of the optimum fluids.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-20595228

Dec 7, 2013 at 1:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

"But if you are not technically inclined, or you just want something to read by the pool, you will enjoy it."


I understand that it is on everyone's Christmas present list at DECC.

Dec 7, 2013 at 4:41 PM | Registered Commenterretireddave

Dec 7, 2013 at 12:51 PM Sherlock1

Will this do?

Dec 7, 2013 at 4:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

I have come across the plot for the next Monty Python Film: http://occupylondon.org.uk/piloting-an-anarchar-feminist-approach-to-researching-horizontality-within-occupylondon-and-global-square/

Dec 7, 2013 at 5:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Chorley

Brownedoff,

Thanks - just been reading their Facebook page. Apparently a 'hurricane' hit their compost toilets. And knocked their bins over. And a nearby shopkeeper has 'closed up to join the camp' - yeah, right. Maybe he'd rather go bankrupt than supply unwashed, self-serving, lying, humanity-loathing workshy parasites.

Dec 7, 2013 at 7:29 PM | Registered Commenterflaxdoctor

DC

We're an anarcho-syndicalist commune. We take it in turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week but all the decision of that officer have to be ratified at a special biweekly meeting. By a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs but by a two-thirds majority in the case of more--

Dec 7, 2013 at 10:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Reed

Brownedoff - thanks for that. Not exactly Balcombe scale, is it..?

By the way - big feature in The Sunday Times this week about the boss of Cuidrilla - Australian by persuasion, and makes Crocodile Dundee look a bit of a wuss....
Seems to take his management style from Sir Les Paterson - so maybe we'll get somewhere now..!

Dec 8, 2013 at 6:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterSherlock1

Not <I>Meet the Frackers</I>?

Dec 9, 2013 at 1:04 AM | Unregistered Commentermaguro

and makes Crocodile Dundee look a bit of a wuss....Seems to take his management style from Sir Les Paterson

Did you read it or just absorb The Times' writer's patronising style?
He was talking about community consultation, giving locals a 1% stake in production and other socially progressive ideas.

Dec 9, 2013 at 9:24 AM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

kellydown - I did indeed read the article. The point I was making (clearly not very well) was that he seemed to be the sort of guy who wanted to get things done (including a contribution to local communities) rather than just talking about it...

Dec 10, 2013 at 1:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterSherlock1

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