11 Maps That Explain Energy In America

11) The shale boom is upending the US energy landscape

This final map shows shale plays of oil and gas (in brown), as well as tight gas plays (in blue):

EIA-shale-plays1(Energy Information Administration)
Shale plays (brown) and tight gas plays (blue).

I’ve discussed fracking and horizontal drilling a lot above. Well, here’s where it’s all happening. There are currently more than 63,000 shale oil wells and shale gas wells around the country. Much of the activity is concentrated in Texas, North Dakota, Louisiana, and the Marcellus Shale region in the East.

The shale boom has undeniably reshaped the American energy landscape — it’s easily theenergy story of the past decade. Domestic production of oil and natural gas has risen sharply, leading to lower energy costs and a reduced reliance on imports.

But fracking has also created plenty of controversy. Advocates argue that the shale boom has created jobs and boosted manufacturing, and can help tackle global warming by reducing the amount of coal we use. Opponents often argue that the industry is poorly regulated, the global warming benefits are overhyped (because of methane leaks from natural gas infrastructure), and that fracking has led to increased air and water pollution around the country.

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