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The Green and the Black: The Complete Story of the Shale Revolution, the Fight over Fracking, and the Future of Energy Hardcover – February 23, 2016
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"[Sernovitz] brings a lively eye to the field of fracking" - The New York Times Book Review
“It is refreshing to have such contentious issues sieved through Mr. Sernovitz’s inquisitive mind, balancing the most pessimistic and optimistic visions of change.” – The Wall Street Journal
“The Green and the Black is well balanced, reporting accurately and entertainingly on the attitudes and beliefs of oilmen and environmentalist about fracking and the oil industry in general" - The New York Review of Books
“a worthy project―if anything, it is the project for ushering mankind into a sustainable future―and Sernovitz’s attempt is thoughtful and entertaining.” - The New Republic
"Sernovitz, who writes with flair, humor, and assurance, includes some recent history of the industry, some big personalities, a little technology and geology, arguments of environmentalists (the "Green" of the title) and of oilmen ("Black"), and a wealth of statistics....An insider's cheerful, energetic examination of an industry that has changed dramatically in the last decade.” – Kirkus
"Sernovitz’s deep insider’s knowledge and scintillating prose make this one of the best treatments of this very contentious subject" - Publishers Weekly
"Sernovitz writes passionately, even lovingly of the industry... offers a necessary perspective" - Booklist
"an excellent, informative and well-written book about the shale revolution in North Dakota’s Bakken formation as well as other shale formations in the U.S. The author writes with a sense of humor, which helps make this such a good read, one that is hard to put down." - Bismarck Tribune
"the most engaging book published so far on the subject" - H-Energy
"His book is like a mash-up of The Daily Show and a National Geographic special... If you want to dig into the intriguing issues powering the energy revolution, then you definitely should read The Green and the Black." - Urban Land
“Across the broad spectrum of American writers, there's simply no one else quite like Gary Sernovitz, at once a brilliant novelist, hilarious cultural critic, energy-industry insider, and self-described 'liberal oilman.' (Imagine Saul Bellow's giant ecstatic heart transplanted into T. Boone Pickens, and you're getting warm.) This has to be one of the most searching, literate, and funniest books about American energy ever written, and it will usefully complicate even one's most zealous certainties about fossil fuels.” ―Tom Bissell
“As a novelist-turned-oilman, Gary Sernovitz is uniquely equipped to introduce the general reader to the complexities of the oil industry. Erudite, conversational, and brimming with vivid descriptions and helpful analogies, The Green and the Black informs and expands the contemporary debate around fracking and fossil fuels.” ―Kate Bolick
"[The Green and the Black] provides a comprehensive, balanced view of the far-reaching impact of the U.S. shale revolution." - Mark Papa, Former Chairman and CEO, EOG Resources
"Gary Sernovitz has written a mini-masterpiece about an American-born technology that has the continuing potential to revolutionize the world of energy economics and bring about social and political challenges and opportunities for many decades. His style is intelligent, balanced with regard to highlighting competing views of each major topic, and technically and economically illuminating. Everyone in America should read Chapter 11. If you don't necessarily agree with every claim the author makes, you will nonetheless find the book incredibly informative, well-researched, and witty." - Jim Hackett, Former Chairman and CEO, Anadarko Petroleum
"Gary Sernovitz is a unique figure in American letters. A talented novelist (his The Contrarians should be read alongside Liar's Poker as an introduction to the world of the American investment bank), he is also a private equity investor, specializing in the oil sector. He is, finally, a person of conscience. His account here of the shale revolution of the past decade is funny, informed, and unsparing. You may not share his affection for natural gas, or accept his case for fracking, but if you are opposed to these technologies - and you should be - it's important to understand the other side." - Keith Gessen
About the Author
GARY SERNOVITZ is a managing director at Lime Rock, an oil- and gas-focused private equity firm. He began his career as an oil equity research analyst at Goldman Sachs. He has written two novels, Great American Plain (2001) and The Contrarians (2002), as well as essays and reviews for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, n +1, and Slate, among others. A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he lives in New York City with his wife.
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* source rocks are more abundant, better characterized, and more predictable than domes catching what they slowly release
* yup, construction activity can be disruptive in the country
* American social arrangements lead to uneven local compensation for mostly surface annoyances
* cheap gas is currently good, an upper bound on oil price has nice diplomatic consequences, and there is no reason that cheapening solar and wind should not change everything energy related again
* soil types (e.g. Clay is bad; brittle rock is good) can break fracking as an economic activity. USA is the major beneficiary of fracking and other countries may land up using the more universal wind and solar, depending on the less known opportunities in storage to fill in the gaps. New Zealand and a few other countries with large dispatchable hydro penetration and good grids are well situated here.
This book should be read by everyone, pro or con fracking, who wants to talk from knowledge instead of prejudice.
The book received a great review from the Wall Street Journal, which noted, “It is refreshing to have such contentious issues sieved through Mr. Sernovitz’s inquisitive mind, balancing the most pessimistic and optimistic visions of change.”
Highly recommended to anyone interested in learning more about these issues!