We might prefer to read, as a comment on the crisis, an account of life in a Bakken shale “man camp” or a Sacramento Hooverville.
Our experience with shale gas shows us that the payoffs on these public investments don't always come right away.
Which, probably not coincidentally, is well under the break-even price for shale oil projects.
1747, possibly a specialized use of Middle English schale "shell, husk, pod" (late 14c.), also "fish scale," from Old English scealu (see shell (n.)) in its base sense of "thing that divides or separate," in reference to the way the rock breaks apart in layers. Cf. Middle English sheel "to shell, to take off the outer husk" (late 15c.). Geological use also possibly influenced by German Schalstein "laminated limestone," and Schalgebirge "layer of stone in stratified rock."
A sedimentary rock formed from layers of clay.