Daniel Yergin Statement on the Passing of George P. Mitchell

George P. Mitchell’s life is a great American story.

The son of a Greek goat herder, he worked his way through university and, starting out with nothing, built a major company.

He is also a great American innovator. For he is responsible for what is the most important innovation in world energy so far this century.

Before his breakthrough, shale gas had another name – “uneconomic” gas. It was thought that there was no way to commercially extract it. He proved that it could be done. His breakthrough in hydraulic fracturing, when combined with horizontal drilling, set off the revolution in unconventional oil and gas that we see today. But it did not come easily.

It took a decade and a half of conviction, investment and dogged determination. In the face of great skepticism and refusing to accept “no” as an answer, Mitchell dramatically changed America’s energy position. As such, he also changed the world energy outlook in the 21st century and set in motion the global rebalancing of oil and gas that is now occurring.

 

Daniel Yergin is Vice Chairman of IHS and author of the Pulitizer Prize-winning book, 'The Quest: Energy, Security and the Remaking of the Modern World'

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