Turns out, America’s decade-long shale boom might just end up being a little too good to be true. There’s no denying that fracking has turned the U.S. into a force in the global oil and gas markets, which has more than a few people abuzz about the prospect of energy independence.
But now, researchers at MIT have uncovered one potentially game-changing detail: a flaw in the Energy Department’s official forecast, which may vastly overstate oil and gas production in the years to come.
The culprit, they say, lies in the Energy Information Administration’s premise that better technology has been behind nearly all the recent output gains, and will continue to boost production for the foreseeable future. That’s not quite right. Instead, the research suggests increases have been largely due to something more mundane: low energy prices, which led drillers to focus on sweet spots where oil and gas are easiest to extract.