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Shale Bubble report series

David Hughes

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.

In the press

View media hits for the “Busting the Shale Hype” program