Taking Stock of the Shale Revolution

Earlier this week, The Desert Sun reported findings of the “BP 2014 statistical world energy review” indicating that the United States “has achieved world-leading natural gas production, by reaching a new all-time high of 328 billion cubic feet per day.” This production has propelled our nation past Russia, Qatar, Iran and other natural gas producing nations.

This is an important milestone that all Americans should be proud of, particularly North Texans, as the high level of production occurring in shale formations nationwide is a direct result of the shale revolution that began right here in the Barnett Shale.

While hydraulic fracturing existed for decades (according to Mark Green of Energy Tomorrow it “pre-dates McDonald’s, diet soft drinks, credit cards and more – even Barbie”), George Mitchell and other homegrown innovators in North Texas refined these techniques and developed the know-how to safely and economically produce our shale energy resources.
 
Energy producers across the country quickly followed suit and shale energy is now being developed across the country.
 
The economic benefits of the shale revolution can make your head spin. Purdue University economists Wally Tyner and Farzad Taheripour recently estimated that “shale technologies annually provide an extra $302 billion to the U.S. economy relative to 2007” and this annual "dividend" should “continue for at least the next two decades.”
 
The Dallas Morning News recently reported that energy “companies are working with universities and even high schools to get more people trained” as the hot topic now is bringing along the next generation of skilled workers.

This is certainly a shift from previous decades when bleak prospects of the American energy sector “turned many professionals away from the (energy) industry” causing a “shortage of engineers and executives.” The situation is different now as “oil and gas companies are rushing to figure out how to keep their staffs filled.”
 
We should not rest on our laurels in a competitive global marketplace, but every now and then it is useful to take a moment to think about the massive scope of changes brought about by the shale revolution that began here and has gone on to change the world. 

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