Fracking flourishes as era of net-zero carbon looms

Aug 15, 2022
The energy industry is emphasizing the controversial technique over traditional drilling, partly for its shorter timetable.
A fracking pump jack in California. Fracking for oil is generally a lower-risk and shorter-term proposition than vertical drilling.
David McNew/Getty Images

Why aren't oil companies drilling on their 9,000 land leases?

Aug 1, 2022
Shortages of labor and materials are making it hard to drill and maintain wells.
Shortages of steel pipe, sand and workers are cutting into potential oil production. Above, drilling rigs sit unused in Odessa, Texas.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Frackers face labor, equipment and materials shortages as they try to capitalize on high oil prices

Mar 11, 2022
The people and equipment they need are already hard at work.
Fracking for oil is a two-stage process. First, you drill the well. Then you complete it by injecting sand and water to force the oil out. Above, fracking equipment at a well in Culberson County, Texas.
Paul Ratje/AFP via Getty Images

Could U.K. fracking wean Europe off its addiction to Russian gas?

Mar 10, 2022
The government says it is mulling the possibility of lifting the fracking suspension to ease the energy crisis caused by the invasion of Ukraine.
The United Kingdom shut down fracking for safety and environmental reasons in 2019; the wells were due to be filled with concrete as early as next week. Above, a Cuadrilla fracking site in Preston, England.
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Searching for meaning in the North Dakota oil boom

Feb 16, 2021
In a new book, Michael Patrick F. Smith reflects on his time working on an oil field in North Dakota.
An oil drilling rig in North Dakota in 2013.
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Midland, Texas, and the oil industry prepare for a change in power

Nov 9, 2020
President-elect Joe Biden said he does not want to ban fracking outright, but producers in Midland are nonetheless preparing for more regulation.
Midland, Texas, is ground zero for fracking, an issue that's come under fire from environmental activists in recent years.
Montinique Monroe/Getty Images

Oil and gas companies are donating more to Democrats

Oil and gas companies are trying to protect their interests if Biden wins.
Oil and gas companies are increasing their share of campaign donations to Democrats this year. Still, 85% of that industry's donations have gone to President Trump’s campaign or to Republican candidates and conservative causes.
Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

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The natural gas well that changed everything

Sep 15, 2020
In this excerpt, Daniel Yergin writes about a man’s determination to extract gas from underground rock denser than concrete.
Natural gas is flared off at a plant outside of Cuero, Texas.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Energy sector woes muddying the future of sand mines

Jul 13, 2020
Sand is an important material used in fracking for oil and gas. When prices dive and oil companies cut costs, sand mines shut down.
A truck used to carry sand for fracking in Odessa, Texas. The recent oil bust has been felt in the sand mining business.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Reporter's notebook: a bitterly contested $8 billion pipeline along the Appalachian Trail

Feb 24, 2020
The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is the subject of a U.S. Supreme Court case to be heard Monday.
Climate activist groups protest the Atlantic Coast Pipeline in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 24, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images