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New study suggests US fracking boom may not last as long as predicted

Posted December 5, 2014

A team of researchers with the University of Texas has conducted an analysis of the fracking business in the United States and has found that the estimates made by other groups, most specifically the Energy Information Administration (EIA) regarding the amount of natural gas that can be extracted, is much too high. In a NatureNews Feature, team lead Mason Inman suggests that the boom may last just half as long as predicted.

New study suggests U.S. fracking boom may not last as long as predicted

Credit: EIA/Univ. Texas/Goldman Sachs/Wood Mackenzie/Navigant, via Nature, doi:10.1038/516028a

Just half a decade ago geological experts with the government and in private industry were bemoaning the sad state of U.S. energy production. Gas prices were high causing the government to invest funds in renewable resources, but then, suddenly, hydraulic fracturing, now known the world over as fracking took off, offering industry and consumers a seemingly unending energy source. President Obama boasted that fracking would provide the U.S. and other countries with natural gas for a hundred years. That boast was slightly tempered when the EIA suggested that peak production would likely last up till 2040, and then taper off after that. Now, the Texas team is suggesting that even that estimate is too optimistic—they suggest the peak will likely come in 2020, and after that production will fall off dramatically.

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