3 Big Reasons You Should Love Fracking

Fracking is hated by some and loved by others. Here are three big reasons everyone should love it.

Feb 16, 2014 at 12:45PM

Chesapeake Energy Drilling Rig At Sunset

Photo credit: Chesapeake Energy.

Natural gas was one of the big winners in President Obama's recent State of the Union address. The president noted that "America is closer to energy independence than we've been in decades." He went on to say that "one of the reasons why is natural gas – if extracted safely, it's the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change."

That said, without fracking the natural gas that is changing our nation for the good would still be stuck in rocks a mile or more below the surface. As the president said, when done safely, natural gas extraction is unleashing a powerful force for positive change on our economy. Seen in that light, here are three big reasons Americans should learn to love and not loathe fracking.

Plunging carbon footprint
U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from energy consumption are at the lowest level since 1994. Overall, carbon emissions from energy have fallen for five straight years. Natural gas, as the president pointed out, is having a direct impact as natural gas power generation is replacing dirtier coal power on a near 1-to-1 ratio.

In addition to a big reduction in carbon emissions, the overall carbon footprint of natural gas extraction is becoming smaller. Pad drilling enables an energy company like Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) to drill between four and 20 wells on a single pad instead of building up to 20 separate well pads. Just four years ago, 77% of the wells Chesapeake Energy drilled were on single well pads, and today that number is down to just 44%. Not only is this saving Chesapeake Energy and its peers millions, but it's also reducing that literal footprint of well sites, as well as the carbon footprint of the process, by reducing the number of truck trips needed to drill these wells.

America is making a comeback
The manufacturing industry has announced more than 100 projects representing $80 billion to $100 billion in new investments thanks to fracking. The projects range from petrochemical plants to fertilizer manufacturers and are only possible thanks to cheap and abundant natural gas that's only unlocked by fracking.

 Drilling Mast With Flag

Photo credit: Chesapeake Energy.

Fracking has fueled a 41% increase in energy-related jobs since the end of the Great Recession. The industry now supports 2.1 million jobs. It's expected to add another 1.1 million new jobs by the end of the decade.

On top of that, it's estimated that fracking has enabled the U.S. to add 530,000 manufacturing jobs since 2010 as companies took advantage of cheaper natural gas. Some analysts predict that another 5 million manufacturing jobs could be added to the economy by 2020 thanks to cheap natural gas that was unlocked by fracking.

Continual improvements to protect the environment and people
Fracking has come a long way since Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) completed the first experimental fracturing operations in 1947. Over the course of drilling more than a million wells, the industry has continued to refine the process. Today's process of fracking is vastly improved from just a few years ago.

Halliburton is one of the companies leading the way to make fracking even better. The company has developed safer fracking fluids that are sourced with ingredients found in the food industry. The fluid is safe enough that Halliburton executives have even taken a sip at a conference.

Halliburton is also pioneering a water recycling solution that will enable it to frack new wells using water that is produced from other wells it fracked. The company hopes that by recycling it can reduce the freshwater usage in its fracking operations by up to 25% by the end of this year.

Others are working on sustainable fracking initiatives. These will limit flaring, cut down on emissions, and reduce toxic chemicals used in fracking operations, as well as a whole host of other voluntary standards to clean up the process. That's in addition to stronger regulations that some states are placing on water testing and emissions. Bottom line: Fracking is getting a whole lot safer than many of its detractors realize.

Final thoughts
Fracking isn't perfect, but it is getting better. Many of the reasons the process is hated have either been disproved or have vastly improved over the years. That's why more Americans need to learn to love fracking, as it's doing a lot more good than many people realize.

Learn more about America's energy boom
Fracking has unlocked record amounts of oil and natural gas production that is revolutionizing the United States' energy position. It also has the potential to unleash powerful profits for your portfolio. To learn more about how you can profit from the energy boom, check our special free report, "3 Stocks for the American Energy Bonanza." Don't miss out on this timely opportunity; click here to access your report -- it's absolutely free. 


Matt DiLallo has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Halliburton. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

1 Key Step to Get Rich

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better. Whether that’s helping people overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we can help.

Feb 1, 2016 at 4:54PM

To be perfectly clear, this is not a get-rich action that my Foolish colleagues and I came up with. But we wouldn't argue with the approach.

A 2015 Business Insider article titled, "11 websites to bookmark if you want to get rich" rated The Motley Fool as the #1 place online to get smarter about investing.

"The Motley Fool aims to build a strong investment community, which it does by providing a variety of resources: the website, books, a newspaper column, a radio [show], and [newsletters]," wrote (the clearly insightful and talented) money reporter Kathleen Elkins. "This site has something for every type of investor, from basic lessons for beginners to investing commentary on mutual funds, stock sectors, and value for the more advanced."

Our mission at The Motley Fool is to help the world invest better, so it's nice to receive that kind of recognition. It lets us know we're doing our job.

Whether that's helping the entirely uninitiated overcome their fear of stocks all the way to offering clear and successful guidance on complicated-sounding options trades, we want to provide our readers with a boost to the next step on their journey to financial independence.

Articles and beyond

As Business Insider wrote, there are a number of resources available from the Fool for investors of all levels and styles.

In addition to the dozens of free articles we publish every day on our website, I want to highlight two must-see spots in your tour of fool.com.

For the beginning investor

Investing can seem like a Big Deal to those who have yet to buy their first stock. Many investment professionals try to infuse the conversation with jargon in order to deter individual investors from tackling it on their own (and to justify their often sky-high fees).

But the individual investor can beat the market. The real secret to investing is that it doesn't take tons of money, endless hours, or super-secret formulas that only experts possess.

That's why we created a best-selling guide that walks investors-to-be through everything they need to know to get started. And because we're so dedicated to our mission, we've made that available for free.

If you're just starting out (or want to help out someone who is), go to www.fool.com/beginners, drop in your email address, and you'll be able to instantly access the quick-read guide ... for free.

For the listener

Whether it's on the stationary exercise bike or during my daily commute, I spend a lot of time going nowhere. But I've found a way to make that time benefit me.

The Motley Fool offers five podcasts that I refer to as "binge-worthy financial information."

Motley Fool Money features a team of our analysts discussing the week's top business and investing stories, interviews, and an inside look at the stocks on our radar. It's also featured on several dozen radio stations across the country.

The hosts of Motley Fool Answers challenge the conventional wisdom on life's biggest financial issues to reveal what you really need to know to make smart money moves.

David Gardner, co-founder of The Motley Fool, is among the most respected and trusted sources on investing. And he's the host of Rule Breaker Investing, in which he shares his insights into today's most innovative and disruptive companies ... and how to profit from them.

Market Foolery is our daily look at stocks in the news, as well as the top business and investing stories.

And Industry Focus offers a deeper dive into a specific industry and the stories making headlines. Healthcare, technology, energy, consumer goods, and other industries take turns in the spotlight.

They're all informative, entertaining, and eminently listenable ... and I don't say that simply because the hosts all sit within a Nerf-gun shot of my desk. Rule Breaker Investing and Answers contain timeless advice, so you might want to go back to the beginning with those. The other three take their cues from the market, so you'll want to listen to the most recent first. All are available at www.fool.com/podcasts.

But wait, there's more

The book and the podcasts – both free ... both awesome – also come with an ongoing benefit. If you download the book, or if you enter your email address in the magical box at the podcasts page, you'll get ongoing market coverage sent straight to your inbox.

Investor Insights is valuable and enjoyable coverage of everything from macroeconomic events to investing strategies to our analyst's travels around the world to find the next big thing. Also free.

Get the book. Listen to a podcast. Sign up for Investor Insights. I'm not saying that any of those things will make you rich ... but Business Insider seems to think so.

Compare Brokers