Each year the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) produces forecasts of U.S. oil and gas production in its Annual Energy Outlook (AEO), which is widely viewed as an authoritative assessment of what to expect for future U.S. oil and gas output (the EIA prefers the term “projection” to “forecast”). The EIA’s reference case is considered as the most likely scenario by industry, policy makers, and the media. Considering that AEO reference case forecasts for shale gas and tight oil production in recent releases are remarkably optimistic when considered at the play-level in terms of well productivity, decline rates and prospective areas, I find this baffling and worrisome. It’s one thing for industry to paint a rosy picture of future production, but something altogether different when a government agency—tasked with providing the American public with objective information—does it. AEO2018 , for example, projects that shale gas production will be 130% […]