the U.S. is counting on

a long-term abundance of oil & natural gas

But what if the boom is just a bubble?

Latest Update

SRC2021 coverShale Reality Check 2021: Drilling into the U.S. Government’s Optimistic Forecasts for Shale Gas & Tight Oil Production Through 2050 provides a realistic assessment of future production in all major tight oil and shale gas plays in the United States.

Prepared by earth scientist J. David Hughes, the report assesses the viability of the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) shale forecasts in its Annual Energy Outlook 2021, which are widely used by policymakers, industry, and investors to make long-term plans. His detailed analysis finds that the EIA’s forecasts of tight oil and shale gas production through 2050 “highly to extremely optimistic.”

For each play, this report assesses:

  • Current and historical production, and cumulative oil and gas production by county.
  • Total- and producing-well count by county, well type, and vintage.
  • Three-year well decline and first-year field decline by county, well type, and vintage.
  • Distribution of wells in terms of quality, as defined by production of oil or gas in the highest month (initial productivity), in order to delineate sweet spots.
  • Average productivity of all wells drilled in each year from 2012 to 2021 by county, well type, and play, in order to assess the impact of improved technology.
  • Projected number of wells, well density, and capital investment required to meet production forecasts.
  • Comparison of forecast production to EIA estimates of proven reserves plus unproven resources.
  • The optimism bias for the EIA AEO2021 play-level forecasts based on play fundamentals determined from the assessment.