WSJ

Governments draft white papers and formulate plans on future energy production. U.S. frackers produce energy. And a new discovery in West Texas might do more to improve the environment than a year’s worth of climate conferences.

In an area near the Davis Mountains that many experts concluded wasn’t worth fracking, Apache Corp. has found the equivalent of an estimated two billion barrels of oil, and possibly more.

We say “equivalent” because the field contains vast quantities of natural gas and oil. The Journal reports that some early wells are so prolific they can break even at a gas price of 10 cents per million British thermal units, compared to a recent $2.80. This suggests fat margins for Apache, but also continuing pressure on energy users to switch from coal to cleaner-burning gas. Even without the Obama-Clinton policy of throwing coal miners out of work, the market has been moving the U.S. to a new energy mix. Notice it’s not happening because politicians showered taxpayer funds on alternative energy sources, but because a company risked its own money and ignored conventional wisdom.

“This is a giant onion that is going to take us years to unveil and peel back,” Apache Chief Executive John Christmann IV says. “The industry dogma about this area, all the fundamental premises that most people had about it, were just wrong.” There’s a message here about the benefits of decentralized authority and the freedom to try ideas that seem crazy to others.