The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story Of The New Billionaire Wildcatters

by Gregory Zuckerman

Penguin Publishing Group | November 5, 2013 | Hardcover

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Everyone knew it was crazy to try to extract oil and natural gas buried in shale rock deep below the ground. Everyone, that is, except a few reckless wildcatters - who risked their careers to prove the world wrong.
 

Things looked grim for American energy in 2006. Oil production was in steep decline and natural gas was hard to find. The Iraq War threatened the nation’s already tenuous relations with the Middle East. China was rapidly industrializing and competing for resources. Major oil companies had just about given up on new discoveries on U.S. soil, and a new energy crisis seemed likely.


But a handful of men believed everything was about to change. 

Far from the limelight, Aubrey McClendon, Harold Hamm, Mark Papa, and other wildcatters were determined to tap massive deposits of oil and gas that Exxon, Chevron, and other giants had dismissed as a waste of time. By experimenting with hydraulic fracturing through extremely dense shale—a process now known as fracking—the wildcatters started a revolution. In just a few years, they solved America’s dependence on imported energy, triggered a global environmental controversy—and made and lost astonishing fortunes.


No one understands these men—their ambitions, personalities, methods, and foibles—better than the award-winning Wall Street Journal reporter Gregory Zuckerman. His exclusive access enabled him to get close to the frackers and chronicle the untold story of how they transformed the nation and the world. The result is a dramatic narrative tracking a brutal competition among headstrong drillers. It stretches from the barren fields of North Dakota and the rolling hills of northeastern Pennsylvania to cluttered pickup trucks in Texas and tense Wall Street boardrooms.

Activists argue that the same methods that are creating so much new energy are also harming our water supply and threatening environmental chaos. The Frackers tells the story of the angry opposition unleashed by this revolution and explores just how dangerous fracking really is.


The frackers have already transformed the economic, environmental, and geopolitical course of history. Now, like the Rockefellers and the Gettys before them, they’re using their wealth and power to influence politics, education, entertainment, sports, and many other fields. Their story is one of the most important of our time.




MEET THE FRACKERS


GEORGE MITCHELL, the son of a Greek goatherd, who tried to tap rock that experts deemed worthless but faced an unexpected obstacle in his quest to change history.

AUBREY McCLENDON, the charismatic scion of an Oklahoma energy family, who scored billions leading a historic land grab. He wasn’t prepared for the shocking fallout of his discoveries.


TOM WARD, who overcame a troubled childhood to become one of the nation’s wealthiest men. He could handle natural-gas fields but had more trouble with a Wall Street power broker.


HAROLD HAMM, the son of poor sharecroppers, who believed America had more oil than anyone imagined. Hamm was determined to find the crude before others caught on.


CHARIF SOUKI, the dashing Lebanese immigrant who saw his career crumble and his fortune disintegrate, leaving one last, unlikely chance for success.


MARK PAPA, the Enron castoff who panicked when he realized a resurgence of American natural gas was at hand, one that his company wasn’t prepared for.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 416 pages, 9.25 × 6.25 × 1.37 in

Published: November 5, 2013

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1591846455

ISBN - 13: 9781591846451

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– More About This Product –

The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story Of The New Billionaire Wildcatters

The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story Of The New Billionaire Wildcatters

by Gregory Zuckerman

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 416 pages, 9.25 × 6.25 × 1.37 in

Published: November 5, 2013

Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1591846455

ISBN - 13: 9781591846451

Read from the Book

INTRODUCTIONWilliam Butler was up nights, full of worry.The grizzled eighty-three-year-old rancher in South Texas owed millions of dollars to various lenders, had almost nothing in the bank, and feared his two sons wouldn’t be able to manage when he was gone.Butler had the look of someone just off the set of a John Ford movie. Tall and broad, he tended his cattle in a flannel shirt, blue jeans, and muddy boots. He went by the nickname “Buck,” spent seven days a week working with thousands of cows on his ranch, and in his old age relied on a walking stick made from the manhood of a two-thousand-pound Brahma bull.Buck Butler was no cinema hero, however. A series of local schemers and connivers had taken advantage of him over the years. Butler compounded his problems by plowing all his free cash into nearby land, usually telling his nervous wife, Vera, about the purchases only after they had been completed.By 2009, Butler faced growing difficulties with his business and was coping with a nervous system disorder. Vera began taking medication to calm her own nerves.“When you owe over three million dollars you worry,” she explains.Less than four years later, on a warm January afternoon in 2013, I bounced around the front seat of Butler’s new Dodge pickup as he told the story of how his difficult days had come to an end and a new life had begun.Pointing to his rolling acreage like a proud parent, Butler described how one day—just over two years earlier—a representative of Conoco Phi
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From the Publisher

Everyone knew it was crazy to try to extract oil and natural gas buried in shale rock deep below the ground. Everyone, that is, except a few reckless wildcatters - who risked their careers to prove the world wrong.
 

Things looked grim for American energy in 2006. Oil production was in steep decline and natural gas was hard to find. The Iraq War threatened the nation’s already tenuous relations with the Middle East. China was rapidly industrializing and competing for resources. Major oil companies had just about given up on new discoveries on U.S. soil, and a new energy crisis seemed likely.


But a handful of men believed everything was about to change. 

Far from the limelight, Aubrey McClendon, Harold Hamm, Mark Papa, and other wildcatters were determined to tap massive deposits of oil and gas that Exxon, Chevron, and other giants had dismissed as a waste of time. By experimenting with hydraulic fracturing through extremely dense shale—a process now known as fracking—the wildcatters started a revolution. In just a few years, they solved America’s dependence on imported energy, triggered a global environmental controversy—and made and lost astonishing fortunes.


No one understands these men—their ambitions, personalities, methods, and foibles—better than the award-winning Wall Street Journal reporter Gregory Zuckerman. His exclusive access enabled him to get close to the frackers and chronicle the untold story of how they transformed the nation and the world. The result is a dramatic narrative tracking a brutal competition among headstrong drillers. It stretches from the barren fields of North Dakota and the rolling hills of northeastern Pennsylvania to cluttered pickup trucks in Texas and tense Wall Street boardrooms.

Activists argue that the same methods that are creating so much new energy are also harming our water supply and threatening environmental chaos. The Frackers tells the story of the angry opposition unleashed by this revolution and explores just how dangerous fracking really is.


The frackers have already transformed the economic, environmental, and geopolitical course of history. Now, like the Rockefellers and the Gettys before them, they’re using their wealth and power to influence politics, education, entertainment, sports, and many other fields. Their story is one of the most important of our time.




MEET THE FRACKERS


GEORGE MITCHELL, the son of a Greek goatherd, who tried to tap rock that experts deemed worthless but faced an unexpected obstacle in his quest to change history.

AUBREY McCLENDON, the charismatic scion of an Oklahoma energy family, who scored billions leading a historic land grab. He wasn’t prepared for the shocking fallout of his discoveries.


TOM WARD, who overcame a troubled childhood to become one of the nation’s wealthiest men. He could handle natural-gas fields but had more trouble with a Wall Street power broker.


HAROLD HAMM, the son of poor sharecroppers, who believed America had more oil than anyone imagined. Hamm was determined to find the crude before others caught on.


CHARIF SOUKI, the dashing Lebanese immigrant who saw his career crumble and his fortune disintegrate, leaving one last, unlikely chance for success.


MARK PAPA, the Enron castoff who panicked when he realized a resurgence of American natural gas was at hand, one that his company wasn’t prepared for.

About the Author

Gregory Zuckerman is a special writer at The Wall Street Journal and the bestselling author of The Greatest Trade Ever. He is a two-time winner of the Gerald Loeb Award and a winner of the New York Press Club Journalism Award. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and two sons.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for The Frackers"Zuckerman’s fast-paced, densely interesting The Frackers is the first book to tell the stories of the obstinate, ravenous, methodical, sometimes rascally oil executives of the recent boom. By focusing on people instead of trends, it gets to the heart of why the United States is once again the largest supplier of oil and gas in the world."—The New Republic “The Frackers, [Zuckerman’s] second book, is told with care and precision and a deep understanding of finance and corporate politics as well as oil and geology.”— Bryan Burrough, The New York Times “Fans of the lively, character-driven nonfiction of writers like Kurt Eichenwald and Ben Mezrich should welcome this book with open arms . . . A lively, exciting, and definitely thought-provoking book”—Booklist“A fascinating study of American entrepreneurial culture and the modern robber barons who succeeded in creating an energy revolution.”—Kirkus“Lovers of business and capitalism will appreciate The Frackers, … Zuckerman has done valuable and timely reporting on the men and independent companies that created the shale boom.”—Associated Press “Colorful …compelling account [of]  a revolution driven by stubborn entrepreneurs.”—Reuters “An interesting and first-rate narrative… a dramatic tale… The book may be the definitive story of the innovative men behind the most significant energy discovery of our time.”—Akron Beacon Journal"Insightful...At times suspenseful...on-target in telling the tale of a group of
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