Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has become tremendously popular in the United States and Canada over the past couple of years. By pumping pressurized fluid into a wellbore the process enables companies to extract previously inaccessible hydrocarbons. The result has been a natural gas bonanza in many parts of the U.S., particularly in shale regions like the Barnett Shale Basin in Texas and the Bakken Formation in North Dakota, as well as in parts of Canada [for more fracking news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
The $6 trillion global energy industry has undergone a lot of changes over its long history, from the first successful oil tanker developed by Sweden in 1878 to the first mobile steel barges for offshore drilling developed by the Texas Company in the early 1930s. But, in the modern era, hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) stands out as the single most important innovation [for more fracking news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
When you send your money out into the world, you want to be reasonably assured it can come home whenever it wants, hopefully grown up and enriched by the world. However, finding a steady return on investment in today’s financial markets is no easy task. As the fiscal cliff approaches, China is poised for a hard landing, Ben Bernanke hints at QE3, and Greece gets the boot from the Euro, credit is tightening and it’s easy to feel hesitant about sending your money off into volatility.