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Cold, Hungry and in the Dark: Exploding the Natural Gas Supply Myth

4.2 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0865717435
ISBN-10: 0865717435
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Editorial Reviews

Review

I grew up in the natural gas industry and it is obvious that Bill Powers knows the industry very well.  Cold, Hungry and in the Dark, is packed full of excellent information and statistics on the true state of the industry.  It gives an honest analysis, backed up by the numbers, of what can be expected of the "shale revolution."  It is not a panacea of endless cheap energy at all.

Bill Powers' book is well worth reading for anyone who wants to know the reality of the current natural gas industry.

Robert A. Wiedemer
Author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestseller, Aftershock

Conventional wisdom has North America entering a new era of energy abundance thanks to shale gas. But has industry been honest? Cold, Hungry and in the Dark argues that declining productivity combined with increasing demand will trigger a crisis that will cause prices to skyrocket, damage the economy and have a profound impact on the lives of nearly every North American.

Relying on faulty science, bought-and-paid-for-whitepapers masquerading as independent research and "industry consultants", the "Shale Promoters" have vastly overstated the viable supply of shale gas resources for their own financial gain. This startling exposé, written by an industry insider, suggests that the stakes involved in the Enron scandal might seem like lunch money in comparison to the bursting of the natural gas bubble. Exhaustively researched and rigorously documented, Cold, Hungry and in the Dark:

  • Puts supply-and-demand trends under a microscope
  • Provides overwhelming evidence of the absurdity of the 100-year supply myth
  • Suggests numerous ways to mitigate the upcoming natural gas price spike.

The mainstream media has told us that natural gas will be cheap and plentiful for decades, when nothing could be further from the truth. Forewarned is forearmed. Cold, Hungry and in the Dark is vital reading for anyone concerned about the inevitable economic impact of our uncertain energy future.

About the Author

Bill Powers is an independent analyst and private investor.  He is the former editor of Powers Energy Investor, the Canadian Energy Viewpoint and US Energy Investor. He has published research on the oil and gas industry since 2002 and sits on the Board of Directors of Calgary-based Arsenal Energy. An active investor for over 25 years, Powers has devoted the last 15 years to studying and analyzing the energy sector.

Art Berman is a geological consultant with thirty-three years of experience in petroleum exploration and production. He is a Director of ASPO-USA (Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas USA) and sits on the editorial board and is a frequent contributor at The Oil Drum. Art has published over 100 articles on geology, technology, and the petroleum industry.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: New Society Publishers (July 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865717435
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865717435
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,020,819 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mr. Powers, as has been noted by other viewers, does an excellent job providing data and sources attacking the "100-year supply" myth. Throughout the book, Mr. Powers presented compelling evidence that the natural gas supply has been materially overstated by industry and other vested interests. The highlight of the book are the two sections in which Mr. Powers reviews US production data shale play by shale play - an analysis I have been unable to find anywhere else - and another section in which Mr. Powers shines a light on the holes in the Energy Information Agency's natural gas reserves data. These are among the strongest elements of the book, and I believe the pieces most appreciated by other readers.

That said, the other half of the book is spent on making the case that the U.S. will face a natural gas shortage. The case in this half of the book is weak and not as well supported as the other. After reading this portion of the book, I wasn't necessarily opposed to the idea that the US could face a shortage of natural gas, but I was far from convinced. Some of Mr. Powers arguments in this portion are lacking. For instance, Mr. Powers cites the decline in production in the majority of shale plays from 2010-to-date as evidence that the plays have already "peaked". While I don't necessarily disagree with his conclusion, the argument itself is wanting. My immediate reaction was to question if the producers that weren't forced to drill due to lease holdings and/or interest payments were shutting in wells and refraining from drilling in an attempt to hold out for higher natural gas prices. Mr. Powers never addresses this obvious question. A similar case arises when Mr. Powers conclusively indicates that U.S. demand for natural gas will increase because manufacturing is coming back to the U.S.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bill Powers offers a factual antidote to the incessant media message of US energy independence. His careful, three year, analysis of shale gas production (supported by over 600 footnotes and many charts and tables) brings to mind the detailed research of Michael Burry. Instead of poring over 100 page bond prospectuses, Power aims his magnifying glass on natural gas. In 2005 it was assumed that housing prices could never go down. Today, the same certainty is given to the continuation of low natural gas prices which will fuel a US manufacturing renaissance, power vehicles (Pickens Plan), provide electricity, and still have enough left over to export. Powers proves that these beliefs are myths, not facts. He starts by providing a history of the natural gas crisis in the 1970s and explains how coal and nuclear came to the rescue to finally reduce prices. He then explains why neither of those energy sources will help mitigate the price rise that he foresees. How can he be so sure that prices will rise? His detailed analysis reveals the terrible financing models of natural gas companies such as Chesapeake whose profits came more from land sales than production. In regard to the production increases from shale, Powers proves that drilling of a relatively small number of bountiful key "sweet spots" led to a rapid production increase followed by equally fast decreases. Against the backdrop of depleting and aging resources in the Gulf of Mexico, Texas, and other areas, Powers proves that shale gas is less of a miracle and more of another destructive bubble in the making. The strength of the book is the data which Powers provides to support his thesis. Where so many others offer their opinions regarding the current and future state of energy in America, Powers is a refreshing and factual voice.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was looking forward to reading this book as I was looking for a clear rebuttal to claims of "100-year" supplies of natural gas in the US. Powers is clearly knowledgeable and the book contains many details concerning US shale gas plays including expected production rates. I was a bit disappointed with the writing style as the book takes the reader laboriously through each US state's production but doesn't seem to sum up results to support the conclusion. I felt like I was given a handful of bullets but no gun.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this after reading "Shale Gas: the promise and the peril". Both books were well written and researched, but ended up giving a quite different perspective on the situation of shale gas (even though, in the end, they are perhaps not so different in absolute terms, as both books predict some shale production in the future, but this book brings out the wide margin between its authors' (and his sources') estimates on reservers and the industry claims on resources (which they seem to try to sell as reserves whenever possible but which are totally different things). The other book concentrated a bit more on the other side: the envisronmentalists claims on this and that environmental damage, their (usual) scaremaongering that is not based on science and the supposed fact that shale production can be quite less harmful if best practices are used (the story of any modern capitalistic industry that is forced to cut costs because everybody is doing it).

For those more interested on reserves and the development of production, I recommend Cold, Hungry and in the Dark. Of the two books, it was slightly better both on content and readability, and if you are still hungry for more shale or maybe a bit more interested on a neutral view on its environmental effects and problems, I recommend Shale Gas - the Promise and the Peril.
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