The Great Recession has been hard on America’s domestic manufacturing industries. Even before the 2008 economic spiral, domestic industries suffered under the pressures of foreign competitors with lower labor, raw material, and energy costs, as well as more permissive regulations. In the face of this downturn, America’s oil and gas industry, an industry which itself was facing declining domestic production, embraced game-changing technology with the capability of unlocking unprecedented reserves of oil and gas.
Hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling—the techniques that allow for the extraction of unprecedented amounts of natural gas and oil from low-porosity rock such as shale—have literally reversed the course of energy production in America and, in doing so, transformed the fates of many manufacturing industries. As an energy-intensive industry and a major supplier to the oil and gas industry, valve manufacturers are key beneficiaries of America’s energy revolution.
Despite the importance of the oil and gas industry on domestic manufacturing, there are widespread misapprehensions about hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. These misapprehensions are fueled by anti-hydrocarbon environmental groups, uninformed press reports, and even a Oscar-nominated filmmaker pursuing an anti-energy agenda. This article offers answers to some important questions about hydraulic fracturing, its impact on the environment, America's energy future and what this means to US manufacturers.