Fossil fuel co. CEO: Fracking now, fracking tomorrow...

ConocoPhillips CEO Ryan Lance sees a long future ahead for fracking. (Photo by Bill Baker via Flickr.)

By Andrea Germanos, Common Dreams

Despite reports of a "shale bubble" as well as climate, public health and water consumption concerns associated with fracking, Ryan Lance, CEO and chairman of energy giant ConocoPhillips, foresees a long future ahead for the country's shale revolution.

Lance made the comments Friday at the "The Geopolitics of Natural Gas" conference in Houston, where he was a keynote speaker.

"What we’re learning is we’ve only scratched the surface of what technology can do to improve the outlook over the years," the Houston Chronicle reports Lance as saying. "This is the layer that can last for quite some time."

Dismissing reports of a looming shale gas bubble, Lance said the shale boom was only in its "first inning of a nine inning game," and that reports of it ending within 10 or 20 years were "unfounded."

Two reports published last year paint a different picture.

Steve Horn reported for DeSmogBlog that the reports from the Post Carbon Institute (PCI) and the Energy Policy Forum (EPF)

conclude that the hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") boom could lead to a "bubble burst" akin to the housing bubble burst of 2008. [...] The fracking industry has the ability - paralleling the housing bubble burst that served as a precursor to the 2008 economic crisis - to tank the global economy.

Playing the role of Cassandra, the reports conclude that "the so-called shale revolution is nothing more than a bubble, driven by record levels of drilling, speculative lease & flip practices on the part of shale energy companies, fee-driven promotion by the same investment banks that fomented the housing bubble..." a summary details. "Geological and economic constraints – not to mention the very serious environmental and health impacts of drilling – mean that shale gas and shale oil (tight oil) are far from the solution to our energy woes."

ConocoPhillips also maintains that fracking can be done "responsibly," pointing to its record in the Eagle Ford shale in Texas.

Yet a new investigation revealed that residents living near the Eagle Ford Shale, who were promised prosperity when the industry came to their region, have instead been dealt fracking wells that release unchecked toxic emissions.

Meanwhile, Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson has added his name to an anti-fracking lawsuit to block construction of a water tower near his ranch over concerns that it might lower his property value.