Changes in oil, natural gas industries catch some producers by surprise

Oklahoman energy columnist Adam Wilmoth writes that just five years ago, energy industry observers and authors were touting the end of oil in the United States. Today, they are focusing on what to do with the glut of oil that has been tapped.
by Adam Wilmoth Published: October 5, 2012
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The books that line my desk reflect how much has changed in the oil and natural gas industry in the past five years.

The books written just a few years ago have a decidedly different tone from those written in the past two years.

Books such as “Beyond Oil,” “The End of Oil” and “The Coming Economic Collapse: How You Can Thrive When Oil Costs $200 a Barrel” seem out of place when the industry and country are now focused on rapidly increasing domestic oil and natural gas production.

Just five years ago, politicians and industry leaders were concerned about how to deal with the impending world oil and natural gas shortage.

But this week, President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney both used the season's first presidential debate to discuss how increased domestic production has helped make energy independence possible.

It's nothing new for politicians to discuss energy independence. That's been happening for four decades.

What's new is that energy industry leaders and observers now say it's possible.

The industry has been changed by the development of multistage hydraulic fracturing along with improved horizontal drilling techniques that allow producers to drill as much as two miles down and up to three miles across.

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by Adam Wilmoth
Energy Editor
Adam Wilmoth returned to The Oklahoman as energy editor in 2012 after working for four years in public relations. He previously spent seven years as a business reporter at The Oklahoman, including five years covering the state's energy sector....
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To learn more

Read the second part of a series on energy independence in Sunday's editions of The Oklahoman.

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