Fracking…it’s bad for business?

Fracking…it’s bad for business?

We know fracking is bad for our climate, our air, our land, and our water. But what if it's bad for business too?

Like a lot of us, I tend to assume that the Big Gas companies who are focused on drilling are doing so because they stand to unearth a giant underground lake of money. I forget that if anything, the super rich are more prone to "irrational exuberance" than the rest of us. So the news that Shell regrets its investment in fracked oil and gas should come as no surprise. Even knowing what I do, it's still surprising to read how much the mega oil company feels it may have overreached. 

Peter Voser said the failure of Royal Dutch Shell’s huge bet on US shale was a big regret of his time as chief executive of the company.

Shell has invested at least $24bn in so-called unconventional oil and gas in North America. But it is a bet that has yet to pay off. Its North American upstream business has struggled to turn a profit and in August Shell announced a strategic review of its US shale portfolio after taking a $2.1bn impairment. “Unconventionals did not exactly play out as planned,” Mr Voser said.

So the outgoing Shell chairman is finally leveling with us: he bought into the hype as much as any landowner with visions of being a shale millionaire. What's more, that hype is now spreading across the globe.

Mr Voser also said rhetoric about the US shale revolution being exported to other countries was “hyped”, and that the rest of the world was in an early “exploration phase” which could yield “negative surprises”.
None of this SHOULD come as a "negative surprise." Fracking is the gold rush of our time, and everyone knows most people didn't get rich off gold, they got rich selling things to gold miners a la Levi Strauss. In fracking, that means "selling gas futures, not gas." The folks at have been warning about this for some time, and I hope we all remember what happened when Enron treated energy futures with as much casual disdain as gas futures seem to be getting.

So why should we care if Shell's going bust on fracking? There are plenty of planet-first arguments for why fracking would be bad even if you could make a killing (money-wise) on it. But the faux "jobs" argument is a key part of of the frackers' case, as you can see from the ANGA propaganda we've been fighting on NPR and elsewhere. And knowing that fracking is bad for the environment AND the economy gives us another way to fight fracking: by proving that the economic impact wrought on individual families by this drilling method will be decidedly 'subprime'.
If you're ready to fight frackwashing in the media, check out our campaign to attack the frackers for their investment in NPR,  one of our most-beloved sources of environmental news:. Click here to see our parody of ANGA's economic (and other) lies and sign on to support us.