Cracked: 15 Things to Know About Gas, Money and Power

By Eric Roston and Tom Randall - 2014-02-21T13:10:53Z

Sources: U.S. Energy Information Administration, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Resources for the Future, U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. GRAPHIC: ALEX TRIBOU & DAVE MERRILL/BLOOMBERG VISUAL DATA

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These Wells May Fizzle

Engineers are concerned by the rapid fizzle of shale oil and gas wells. 

Production at some fracked wells drops much faster than anticipated -- a decline as fast as 75 percent in the first year. Wells that peter out too quickly are raising costs and imperiling production growth, a problem the industry must solve before it derails the march toward U.S. energy independence. Geologists and engineers are coming together to diagnose and fix the wells, a novel collaboration to address a new kind of problem. 

Official projections see U.S. natural gas production rising 44 percent by 2040 over 2011 levels, to 33.1 trillion cubic feet a year, assuming the wells cooperate.