"Shale boom leaves investors underwhelmed."

FT: “Overall ….the US independent exploration and production sector has achieved spectacular feats in developing shale production, but done nothing to excite its shareholders for years.”
“Like other technological advances, the refinements in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing that made the shale revolution possible have delivered more of their benefits to consumers than to producers or investors.
The boom is a decade old, dating it from the first production achieved by Devon Energy in Texas after it bought Mr Mitchell’s company in 2002, and the period falls broadly into two halves.
In the first, as the potential of shale was becoming apparent, the US independent oil and gas sector roared ahead. From the start of 2002 to the end of 2007, the S&P US exploration and production sector index quadrupled, while the S&P 500 as a whole rose just 27 per cent.
Since the start of 2008, though, the exploration and production sector has underperformed, rising 16 per cent while the market rose 28 per cent.
….For some opponents of shale production, the poor returns are proof that the whole industry is a bubble that must eventually collapse. The US exploration and production sector’s capital spending has for years exceeded its cash flow, and been financed by selling assets and issuing equity and debt. If that flow of capital dried up, the argument goes, then drilling and hence production would slump.
Such a crash does not look imminent.”