Oilman George Mitchell's plan to drill for gas in shale-rock formations reshaped the world's energy outlook, writes Robert Samuelson in this article. Shale gas helped the U.S. recover from dwindling domestic gas supplies and curb its reliance on imports. While it is unknown how much shale gas exists, one study placed recoverable reserves at 16,200 trillion cubic feet, which is 150 times larger than current annual consumption, he writes.

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