Finances of Fracking: Shale Industry Drills More Debt Than Profit

About the Finances of Fracking: Shale Industry Drills More Debt Than Profit Series

Since 2007, the oil and gas industry has lost $280 billion betting on the shale boom, which has been made possible by hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and Wall Street financing, and these companies are still borrowing heavily. But even as the industry struggles to recoup costs — much less profits — by continuing to borrow and drill, the great promise of the shale revolution is also threatened by another specter: declining production at each well.

In this series, DeSmog’s Justin Mikulka and Sharon Kelly investigate the finances of the fracking industry and how falling fossil fuel output and questionable lending practices reminiscent of the mid-2000s housing bubble may be setting up another bubble, one with a bill that may ultimately be paid by American taxpayers and the planet.

Image: Wyoming’s Jonah gas field is marked by a network of well pads, roads, and pipelines. Credit: Bruce Gordon, EcoFlight, CC BY 2.0

In This Series

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Energy companies are increasingly having to face the unprofitable reality of fracking, and some executives are now starting to admit that publicly. But the question is whether the industry will lis...
Analysis
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Last August, ExxonMobil warned that it may need to remove 20 percent of its oil and gas proved reserves from its books. While that was a shocking number from the oil major, reality proved to be eve...
Analysis
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After over a decade of the much-hyped U.S. fracking miracle, the U.S. oil and gas industry is having to deal with years of losses and falling asset values which has dealt the industry a serious fin...
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Amid a record wave of bankruptcies, the U.S. oil and gas industry is on the verge of defaulting on billions of dollars in environmental cleanup obligations. Even the largest companies in the indus...
Analysis
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In mid-July, Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette signed an order authorizing the export of liquefied natural gas, or LNG, from a proposed $10 billion terminal and gas pipeline project in Oregon. Th...
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More than a decade ago, fracking took off in the Bakken shale of North Dakota and Montana, but the oil rush that followed has resulted in major environmental damage, risky oil transportation withou...
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Warren Buffet has a famous quote about investing: “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who's been swimming naked.”  When it comes to his $10 billion investment in Occidental Petroleum, Buf...