Anybody who thought the problems of the world economy would stop at the failed recovery from the 2007-2008 crash (in Europe, to be sure, we still hang on Draghi’s words) is now forced to acknowledge there could be a new systemic crisis around the corner.
The United States is once again the epicenter of this new financial earthquake. This time, however, it’s not the real estate industry lighting the powder keg, as it did 10 years ago, but the energy sector. The one to watch is the bond market linked to shale gas and oil — that is, the oil and gas extracted from rocks using hydraulic fracture drilling (fracking).
But first things first. In the last 15 years, the number of shale gas extraction wells in the U.S. have gone from 20,000 to 300,000, with a daily crude oil production of 4.3 million barrels — 50 percent of the mining activity in the country. Buoyed by Barack Obama’s pledge two years ago to make America energy independent by 2035, there’s been an enthusiastic rush to exploit fossil fuel reserves trapped deep in underground rocks.