The geological marvel known to Texas oilmen as the Eagle Ford Shale Play is buried deep underground, but at night you can see its outline from space in a twinkling arc that sweeps south of San Antonio toward the Rio Grande.
The light radiates from thousands of surface-level gas flares and drilling rigs. It is the glow of one of the most extravagant oil bonanzas in American history, the result of the drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
Curving south and west, the lights suddenly go black at Mexico’s border, as if there were nothing on the other side.
This is a reflection of politics, not geology. The Eagle Ford shale formation is believed to continue hundreds of miles into Mexico, where it is known as the Burgos Basin. But while more than 5,400 wells have been sunk on the Texas side since 2008, Mexico has attempted fewer than 25.
There’s the Texas oil boom:
The shale boom is the main reason the United States is challenging Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world’s top oil producer. Texas pumps more than a third of U.S. output, and on its own the state would rank as the world’s ninth-largest oil producer.
The situation in Mexico gets complicated by the Batial-1 well site being in an area controlled by the Zeta drug cartel. All the more reason for the US to strive for full energy independence.
Mexico’s reversal didn’t come a moment too soon. Since 2006, its energy production has fallen sharply from underinvestment due to a bad combination of zero foreign investment, which it shut out in 1938, and the state’s habit of draining Pemex for cash to finance a third of its own budget.
The low production is evident in its oil exports to the U.S., which have fallen from nearly 2 million barrels of crude a day in 2006 to less than 1 million in 2013. As U.S. oil rigs light up the Gulf of Mexico each night, the crude-rich Mexican side stays as dark as North Korea.
Mexico’s 75 years of poor policy created a lost opportunity. Oil had become a smaller and less significant part of its economy even as the technical advances of fracking were making the U.S. and Canada the new Saudi Arabia. But it might be able to catch up, as global demand, according to ExxonMobil’s 2014 energy outlook, is forecast to grow 35% by 2040.
Now the question remains what the divided house will make of it, and, as Enrique Krauze put it, take “the road to genuine prosperity and democracy.”
The transfer was small compared with the estimated $1.2 billion in customer funds still unaccounted for more than seven weeks after MF Global collapsed. The bankruptcy trustee for MF Global’s U.S. brokerage unit has said recovering money from the company’s trading partners would be easier if counterparties knew they were accepting funds belonging to customers. It isn’t clear how MF Global responded to J.P. Morgan’s Oct. 29 letter. The letter hasn’t been publicly released by regulators or investigators.
The letter indicates that J.P. Morgan officials knew the money came from segregated customer accounts, because it specifically asked whether the transfer of funds from customer accounts was compliant with regulations. Customer accounts can contain both customer and firm funds. On Oct. 30, or the day after the letter was sent, MF Global alerted regulators to a shortfall in customer funds. It filed for bankruptcy protection on Oct. 31.
The EPA’s unconscionable war on fracking, but particularly on companies that produce fossil fuels. I can not understand how it’s in the USA national interest to not exploit our own natural resources and remain dependent on foreign oil.