Archive

ShareThis Page
The shale question: Boom or bust? | TribLIVE.com
Editorials

The shale question: Boom or bust?

Tribune-Review
| Sunday, November 2, 2014 9:00 p.m.

Will falling world energy prices derail the U.S. oil and natural gas boom, as so many are worried? No, says one scholar.

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Hudson Institute fellow Mark P. Mills says one reason is that “shale production remains profitable at today’s lower prices.” And that’s largely because “more than $500 billion of private investment into hydrocarbon infrastructure” in the past five years has resolved former oversupply caused by “too much domestic oil chasing too little capacity to move, store and use it.”

Profits are “possible at prices even lower than today” because drilling technology is “far more productive than when the boom started.” And unlike many energy-producing nations, the United States has “dozens of world-class fields, thousands of production companies, tens of thousands of related businesses and millions of miles of pipe and rail,” giving it “profound economic leverage.”

Further technological advances will boost the U.S. shale-energy industry’s productivity and safety even more, leading Mr. Mills to predict additional big gains in output within just a few years — what he calls “America’s shale boom 2.0.”

Energy markets always will fluctuate, as Mills notes. But America’s shale energy industry is poised to thrive in the long run — if U.S. regulators will let it.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.