The Frackers

The Frackers (2013) by Gregory Zuckerman is a book that looks at the people who revolutionized oil and gas drilling and worked out how to frack and extract oil and gas from shale formations and who expanded the world’s known gas and oil reserves massively.

The stories of George Mitchell, Tom Ward, Aubrey McClendon, Harold Hamm and Charif Souki are told and their impact on the fracking business described. All the characters are remarkable human beings and their impact on the world is massive. However, in covering so many characters the book becomes a little confusing. The book isn’t as well done as a Michael Lewis book where the story of one or two characters is blended with descriptions of the impact of their work and how what they do works. Still, the book is done well enough to make you want to know what will happen to some of the lead characters.

There is also less of a description of the methods involved in fracking and horizontal drilling than I’d hoped for. There is a small discussion of the environmental impact of fracking. The book does make the point that the nature of US property rights where the owner of the land holds the mineral rights has been a huge enabler of fracking in the US.

The book isn’t a fantastic read but it’s definitely a good read about a really interesting subject that while unfashionable has really changed the world.


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