The Global Effects of the U.S. Fracking Boom
Through new technology, the U.S. has become a net energy exporter of oil and gas for the first time in half a century. This diminished the economies of petrostates and pulled U.S. allies closer.
Hydraulic fracturing, colloquially termed “fracking,” is a technique for extracting hydrocarbons like natural gas and oil from the solid bedrock deep beneath the ground, by fracturing the bedrock through pumping highly pressurized fluid underground. In the 21st century, fracking has drastically increased U.S. production of oil and gas due to deposits in shale rock formations which require fracking to access. After being a net consumer of primary energy—energy contained in raw fuels before human processing—since 1958, the U.S. became a net producer in 2019.1 In 2022, about 80% of U.S. consumer-grade natural gas production came from shale.2 That same year, 66% of oil production came from shale oil.3 For the first time in half a century, the U.S. has not only become energy self-sufficient but has even become an energy exporter.