Platts Energy Week with Bill Loveless is a weekly treat. In most markets, it comes on early Sunday mornings, but if you sleep through its first broadcast, you can still access the show through its website.
This morning’s show featured a wonderful interview with Larry Nichols, executive chairman of Devon Energy, about the legacy of George Mitchell, the relentless entrepreneur who perfected the technology—known as hydraulic fracturing—that made possible the recovery of vast reserves of oil and natural gas from previously inaccessible (i.e., uneconomic to extract from) geologic formations. Thanks in large part to Mitchell’s work, there’s been a much-reported rebound in American energy production. Mitchell died on July 26th.
Mr. Nichols is well qualified to comment on Mitchell’s lasting impact. Devon Energy was an innovator in horizontal drilling, which, when coupled with hydraulic fracturing, precipitated the oil and gas boom. Indeed, in the early aughts, Devon invested in Mitchell, and together they pioneered the new technologies.
Highlights of the interview include: Mr. Nichols putting the lie to the mistaken contention that the federal government’s role was instrumental in the development of the technologies that led to the oil and gas boom; and, his belief that it would have been impossible for George Mitchell to have perfected hydraulic fracturing in today’s overbearing regulatory environment.
I highly recommend watching the whole interview here: