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The Shale Oil Reserve Problem

“We have deceived ourselves into thinking that since we have an infinite resource, we don’t need to worry,” Patzek said. “We are stumbling like blind people into a future which is not as pretty as we think.” The Arps formula is only as good as the assumptions a company puts into it, Patzek said. Estimates can be inflated when Arps is based on limited drilling history for data or on a few high-performing wells to predict performance across a wide swath of acreage. Forecasts can also be skewed higher by assuming slower production declines than Arps observed.

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