Home to the Permian Basin, an 86,000 square mile expanse of oil-rich shale across West Texas and New Mexico, the Lone Star State has long been the posterchild for the country’s fracking boom. New technology and a new interest in the area allowed the Permian industry to explode from 2011 onward, growing from under 1,000 barrels per day to upwards of 4,500 barrels per day at the beginning of 2020.
So, when Sanders brought his anti-fracking proposals to the national stage and remained a leading Democratic candidate through a majority of the primary race, Texans were skeptical.
In January, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute released a study on the impact a Sanders-style fracking ban would have on Texas. It concluded that such measures would lead to the loss of 3.2 million jobs over the next five years as well as a $1.5 trillion loss in the state’s GDP.
“Our study shows that banning fracking would have a catastrophic effect on our economy, inducing the equivalent of a major recession and raising the cost of living for everyone across the country,” said Global Energy Institute president Marty Durbin.
This was, of course, before COVID-19, stock market declines, and a deteriorating OPEC relationship between Russia and Saudi Arabia caused an unprecedented oil crash, which has drastically changed the narrative around fossil fuel growth.
“The change in narrative — from a focus on the industry’s resilience to its fragility — threatens to reframe how the financial community thinks about the future of the oil and gas industry, and even its very investability in a world beset by geopolitical infighting and looming demand destruction from the low-carbon transition,” wrote Ceres oil and gas director Andrew Logan in a CNBC op-ed.
A key metric: the Permian Basin’s loss of its number one title to the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, which is also experiencing cutbacks – albeit less than the Permian.