Shale Bubble report series
December 9, 2021
From 2011 to 2021, the fifteen-report Shale Bubble report series by J. David Hughes critically assessed the viability of the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) tight oil and shale gas forecasts in its Annual Energy Outlook reports. Year after year, Hughes’s detailed analysis—based in the actual production practices and the geology of the plays in question—found the EIA’s forecasts of oil and gas production to be indefensibly optimistic.
The Shale Bubble reports were widely consulted by investors, anti-fracking activists, and drillers themselves for their independent analysis and conclusions. They formed the core of Post Carbon Institute’s “Busting the Shale Hype” program of reports, videos, consultations, and media appearances.
While the data in these reports are a snapshot in time, the fundamentals detailed in the reports about steep decline rates, relatively confined “sweet spots,” well interference, the diminishing returns of technological enhancements, and ultimately the short-lived nature of shale plays, remain critical “reality checks” to continued rosy expectations by policymakers, the fossil fuel industry, investors, and the media of future U.S. oil and gas production.
Visit the individual reports for download links and more. Major reports are noted in bold.
- Shale Reality Check 2021 (December 2021)
- How Long Will the Shale Revolution Last?: Technology versus Geology and the Lifecycle of Shale Plays (May 2019)
- Shale Reality Check 2019 (November 2019)
- Shale Reality Check (2018) (February 2018)
- 2016 Shale Gas Reality Check (December 2016)
- 2016 Tight Oil Reality Check (December 2016)
- Eagle Ford Reality Check (December 2015)
- Bakken Reality Check (October 2015)
- Tight Oil Reality Check (2015) (September 2015)
- Shale Gas Reality Check (2015) (July 2015)
- Drilling Deeper: A Reality Check on U.S. Government Forecasts for a Lasting Tight Oil & Shale Gas Boom (October 2014)
- Drilling California: A Reality Check on the Monterey Shale (December 2013)
- Drill, Baby, Drill: Can Unconventional Fuels Usher in a New Era of Energy Abundance? (February 2013)
- Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Shale Gas Compared to Coal: An Analysis of Two Conflicting Studies (June 2011)
- Will Natural Gas Fuel America in the 21st Century? (May 2011)