I want to write on a recent piece in The Wall Street Journal, "Fracking’s Secret Problem—Oil Wells Aren’t Producing as Much as Forecast," that speaks of an 'illusory picture’ of prospects for the U.S. shale oil and gas industry. The article is based on the same rhetoric that we have been hearing since the industry's takeoff back in 2008: well decline rates are too fast and recoverable reserves are overstated, so a conveyor belt of drilling must be installed to simply maintain production. If not, output inevitably plummets.
The WSJ story could just as easily been written a number of years ago.
To illustrate, back in 2012, the now defunct peak oil website Oil Drum infamously compared the U.S. shale industry to the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland, who quipped that "It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place."
Back on June 21, 2011, The New York Times ran a now forgotten piece also questioning the viability of shale: "Insiders Sound an Alarm Amid a Natural Gas Rush." Read the article for yourself, but it cited the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and a few geologists on their skepticism over the survival of the U.S. shale industry. To them, the bubble was about to burst.Read the whole article by clicking here.
Many years have passed, and the reality is that shale production has surpassed all expectationsnamely through the constant advance of technologies and improvement of operations.