Power Shift: Energy Boom Dawning in America
From NBC News
By Patti Domm
Randy Foutch calls it a renaissance, but when you listen to the veteran Texas oilman and others describe America’s nascent energy boom, it sounds more like a miracle.
Politicians have been warning for decades that the U.S. must wean itself from foreign energy, but just a few years ago their words seemed like so much wishful thinking: The U.S. was facing what seemed like ever-rising oil prices and was importing about 60 percent of its supply. Natural gas inventories were shrinking, and the country was considering importing a liquified form from the Middle East.
But in a turnaround that industry insiders describe as nothing short of amazing, the picture has drastically changed. Oil and natural gas drilling is now booming in places like Eagle Ford, Texas, and the Bakken formation in North Dakota, bringing jobs and prosperity to those regions. And believers say the newfound resource is so much bigger than anticipated that it can help drive economic growth nationwide for years to come.
“For the first time in my career, we actually have the ability to talk about real energy security or independence,” said Foutch, 61, a burly Texas native with four decades experience in the oil business.
Technological innovation – primarily the growth of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” as it’s commonly known – is driving the new production, enabling oil and gas to be extracted from geological formations once considered impregnable.
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